How a single market would transform Africa’s economy? Africa currently has the lowest intra-regional trade in the world – a single market would boost GDP by billions. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
01 Dec 2018

Africa is charting a new path towards a single continental market – and it’s going to be an economic revolution. Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, reasserted the resolve of the African leaders during the recently-concluded 30th African Union Summit, where he said: “We must push ahead to speedily establish the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which will make Africa more integrated, united and prosperous.” But what is the CFTA, and how will a single market solve Africa’s economic ills? According to the African Union, the CFTA is a project to bring together all African countries – comprising 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3.4 trillion – under a single continental market for goods and services, including free movement of businesspeople and investments, and expansion of intra-African trade. Trade is crucial to development. Unfortunately, Africa currently has the lowest percentage of intra-regional trade in the world at 18%, compared with 70% in Europe, 55% in North America, 45% in Asia, and 35% in Latin America. Nonetheless, analysts are confident that Africa is marching forward, citing the CFTA plus other developments as notable indications. An estimate by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa notes: “The CFTA could increase trade between African countries by as much as $35 billion, an increase of more than 50 percent from current levels.” What’s more, it will make Africa the world’s largest free-trade area in terms of member states. Here’s how the single market will pave the way for a remarkable transformation in Africa’s economy.

Last modified on Saturday, 15 December 2018 04:48
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