After months of delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the African Continental Free Trade Area was officially launched on the 1st January 2021.
African countries have officially begun trading under the new continental free trade agreement.
The AFCFTA primary aims to being together over 1.3billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, which will be the largest free trade area since the World Trade Organisation was established. Predicted estimates forecast the free trade agreement could lift tens of millions of people out of poverty by the year 2035. The trade agreement is primary in place to boost trade among fellow African nations, as the continent has previously received low internal trade.
Backers claim that trade among fellow African nations will increase substantially and thus allowing the continent to establish its own value chains of distribution. Every African country is participating in the agreement, except from Eritrea, with a total of 54 nations involved.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo indicated “There is a new Africa emerging with a sense of urgency and purpose and an aspiration to become self-reliant. COVID-19 has demonstrated that Africa is overly reliant on the export of primary commodities, overly reliant on global supply chains, when the global supply chains are disrupted, we know that Africa suffers.”
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Source: Aljazeera, January 2021