The African Continental Free Trade Area represents a major opportunity for countries to boost growth, reduce poverty, broaden economic inclusion and help “expand opportunities for all Africans”, hailed a World Bank official, which if fully implemented, could boost regional income by around $450 billion.
By making African countries more competitive and lifting some 68 million people out of moderate poverty, the Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA for short, has the potential to increase employment opportunities and incomes”, said the bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack.
The pact was brokered by the African Union, and entered into force at the end of May last year for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification. However, according to news reports, it is unlikely to be implemented for several months, due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus. The initial deadline to begin trading, had been 1 July this year.
According to a new World Bank report, the trade pact could improve regional income by $450 billion – or around seven per cent of current regional income – speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.
With the aim of creating a single, Africa-wide economic market, AfCFTA offers its members unhindered access to commodities, goods and services across the continent.