These gains will come from reduced tariffs which are stubbornly high among states in the region. More and greater gains will come from the reduction of trade costs by reducing non-tariff barriers and improving what the World Bank describes as hard and soft infrastructure at borders. The aim of these measures is to reduce red tape, lower compliance costs for traders and make the integration of African businesses with global supply chains seamless.
AfCFTA is still in its infancy stages in terms of implementation with a lot still to be seen in terms of its success. These practical reforms will be difficult to implement given the sheer size of the trade area. The trade area encompasses 54 countries however, the successful implementation of the initiative will provide substantial rewards. In terms of employment, seamless and frictionless trade between African countries has the potential to lower the gender wage gap in favour of women and help all workers by increasing the amount of decent employment opportunities.
The World Bank estimates that the implementation of AfCFTA will lead to an increase in wages by 10% with the largest gains accruing to women and unskilled labour.
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