Will Africa’s free-trade area live up to the hype?
Africa is moving towards a more integrated, rules-based trade regime, but this is unlikely to transform the continent’s economic prospects
Africa’s largest trade agreement, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, has been hailed as a game-changer for intra-African trade. If properly implemented, it could provide a framework to ease the cost of doing business in Africa, but until the continent addresses nontariff barriers, such as infrastructure backlogs and border corruption, it is likely to fall far short of expectations.
This hasn’t stopped African countries from hyping up the agreement as a significant milestone on the road to creating a single African market and a single-currency union.