Is the AfCFTA the ‘Game Changer’ for Africa?

Image: Getty, Brent Stirton
Image: Getty, Brent Stirton

One year into its implementation, the African Continental Free Trade Area holds much potential for the future of African cooperation and trade.

Summary:

  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has great potential to contribute to the realisation of structural transformation on the continent.
  • Our assessment of the initial tariff offers under the AfCFTA agreement suggests that there is real value in the market access that will result from the implementation of the agreement. The impact of trade facilitation and a reduction in non-tariff barriers (NTBs) would be even more significant.
  • There is still a danger that the AfCFTA has been ‘oversold’, especially the timeframe within which it is due to start having an impact. It is a relatively long-term project, which the private sector needs to understand.
  • Drawn-out negotiations and conservative service offers are areas of concern; however, as we are in the first year of what will be a multi-year process, there is time to address these concerns.