Browsing: free trade

AfCFTA

AfCFTA’s successful implementation can boost trade and promote Africa’s economic recovery and growth. The AfCFTA is the world’s most extensive free trade area in terms of size and number of nations, with a combined GDP of around $3.4 trillion.
Increased integration would improve incomes, generate employment, stimulate investment, and make establishing regional supply chains easier. In comparison to Africa’s external trade, intra-African trade remains tiny. In 2020, just 18 per cent of exports went to other African nations.…

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…

Covid-19 has hit small businesses hardest and around the world, many are either still struggling or they have already shut down almost two years after the pandemic started.

The pandemic has caused large-scale loss of life and severe human suffering globally and as the largest public health crisis in our time, the pandemic has also generated a major economic crisis. 2020 saw a halt in production in affected countries, a collapse in consumption and confidence, and stock exchanges responding negatively to heightened uncertainties.

In Africa, things are no different and despite the hit by the pandemic, a June 2021 African Development Bank (AfDB) White Paper, Entrepreneurship and Free Trade: Africa’s Catalysts for a New Era of Economic Prosperity, states that entrepreneurship must be at the heart of efforts to transform Africa’s economic prospects.

Read: Why Kenya’s small businesses are choking

The Covid-19 crisis has triggered shifts that open up …

The largest global free trade area by countries is poised to transform Africa’s economic prospects and it could not have come at a more interesting time.

For reasons I won’t get into in this article, the world has witnessed a tremendous rise in populism, protectionism and nationalism. Popular choices in key economies have shifted the status quo bringing into question well-established political and economic powerhouses. With the arrival of the pandemic, trust in governments across the world has diminished and weak leaders in developed economies have found theirselves exposed.

In my view, these elements ironically created a perfect storm for the launch of AfCFTA, the African Continental Free Trade Area. Global trade is going through deep changes either for fears of infection or due to concepts of self economic preservation in smaller developed countries. Border enforcement across the world is shifting on a daily basis and there’s a real …