How ambitious AfCFTA implementation can drive agricultural trade growth for Africa


More sophisticated non-tariff measures, coupled with environmental and climate provisions, will help deepen Africa’s agricultural trade. Dr Ousmane Badiane, executive chair of AKADEMIYA2063, explains the findings of a recent report.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which entered into force in May 2019, promised to unlock the full potential of Africa’s agricultural sector and accelerate sustainable economic growth and food security throughout the region. However, recent crises, from the conflict in Ukraine to the aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and the accelerating impact of climate change, have given rise to significant setbacks for continental food security and prosperity.

Still, governments and policymakers can rely on recent data to fully leverage landmark continental trade agreements, such as the AfCFTA, to facilitate trade flows while simultaneously diversifying imports to mitigate the effects of current and future global shocks.

new report published by AKADEMIYA2063 and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) analyses continental and regional trends in African agricultural trade flows and policies, with a special focus on the East African Community (EAC), the cotton value chain, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on African countries.

An increase in intra-African trade

In particular, the report finds that intra-African agricultural trade has increased significantly since the early 2000s. Nonetheless, intra-African trade represents a relatively small share of Africa’s total agricultural trade.