Browsing: African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

The report indicated that AfCFTA has the potential to attract greater FDI, required for Africa to diversify into new industries such as agribusiness, manufacturing and services. The report projects that this could create 18 million new jobs by 2035, with 2.5 per cent of the continent’s workers moving to new industries. In addition, more significant FDI could raise Africa’s exports to 32 per cent by 2035, with intra-African exports growing by 109 per cent, especially in the manufactured goods sectors. All countries will record an intra-African export increase, such as Tunisia by 165%, Cameroon by 144%, Ghana by 132%, Tanzania by 126% and South Africa by 61%.

Breaking trade barriers will increase investment and export sectors likely to grow the most: textiles and apparel, rubber, chemical and plastic products, and processed foods. Deeper integration would lower trade costs and boost capital inflows, bolstering exports from service sectors such as communication, transport and hospitality.

According to the ‘Futures Report: Which Value Chains for a Made in Africa Revolution’ prepared by the UNDP and AfCFTA Secretariat, there are opportunities that need to seizing for the One African Market, such as pharmaceuticals; automotive; cultural and creative industries; cocoa; soya; leather and tanned products; mobile financial services; lithium-ion batteries; textiles and apparel; vaccine manufacturing. In view of this, governments and entrepreneurs on the whole, can identify which opportunities are best suitable for their nation’s entry into the AfCFTA market.

The AfCFTA Agreement has been signed by 54 African nations thus far.  Among them, 46 tariff proposals have been filed, including one by the Customs Union. Furthermore, 29 tariff proposals are technically validated for trade.

Under the Rules of Origin discussions, 87.7% of import tariffs have been settled, while phase two consultations on Investment, Intellectual Property Rights, Competition Policy, Women and Youth in Trade, and Digital Trade are underway.

AfCFTA facilitates better access to trade across the continent for all Commonwealth citizens in member states; being one of world’s largest trading blocs. During her visit to Kenya in 2018, SG Scotland noted that, “AfCFTA gives the perfect platform to facilitate trade across the Commonwealth. Nineteen members of the AU are part of the Commonwealth family, the protocol is groundbreaking news because research shows, that when Commonwealth countries trade with each other, its 19 per cent cheaper and this is the Commonwealth Advantage.”

The combined GDP of Commonwealth countries, with a total population of over 2.4B, is now around $13 trillion and is estimated to reach $19.5 trillion in 2027. “With intra-Commonwealth trade expected to surpass $700 billion in 2022, and Commonwealth countries comprising a number of free trade zones including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Commonwealth Business Forum, provided a valuable opportunity to capitalize on global opportunities, for economic growth and social development.” The CEO of Trust Stamp, Gareth Genner who was one of the key guests at the 2022 CHOGM Business Forum, observed.

Earlier in the year, during the AfCFTA’s Secretary General Wamkele Mene’s visit to London, the UK launched a programme to support the implementation of AfCFTA; where the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), pledged to provide up to £35m to provide trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA Secretariat and Member States, through Trademark East Africa (TMEA), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and other regional partners.