On January 1st, 2021 Africa will start to really trade with Africa. It’s a historic moment for our continent as the world’s largest free trade area opens its doors to traders both large and small.
The AfCFTA Business Forum is the African Union’s premier multi-stakeholder platform for Heads of State and Government, private sector leaders, SMEs, civil society and other stakeholders to explore how intra-Africa trade and the African Continental Free Trade Area can develop the continent. This year the focus will be on what the start of trading could mean for Africa’s recovery from the impact of Covid-19; and what businesses need to do to successfully position themselves in this vast, new market.
Currently, the percentage of trade that African countries do with each other is a mere 16%. The bulk of the continent’s trade is with the rest of the world, and most African exports are in raw materials including extractive commodities like oil, gas and minerals which are vulnerable to market volatility.
The AfCFTA is set to transform the way business is conducted across Africa. Trade barriers will be drastically reduced and traders of all sizes will have access to a much bigger market than before. The bigger market will spur producers to upscale and so support increased industrialization and value addition on the continent.
The AfCFTA will be the platform for boosting manufacturing and mechanised farming. More employment opportunities will thus be generated for Africa’s burgeoning young population