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Can Africa’s continental free trade area overcome its high risks?

Dr. Harry G. Broadman
 

(Original source Financial Times)

“African policymakers have long sought mechanisms to increase international trade, as a means to integrate the region into the world economy, as a pathway to sustained growth and to make a permanent dent in poverty. As a highly fragmented continent comprised of numerous small countries, many of which are landlocked, this goal has been largely elusive. However, Africa’s leaders are now on the verge of an economic game-changer.

This year, 54 of the 55 countries in Africa became signatories of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), an unprecedented initiative to generate vast economies of scale on an intracontinental basis, principally by eliminating 90 per cent of tariffs on goods and significantly reducing nontariff barriers (NTBs) on merchandise and services, such as differences in licensing regimes and regulatory standards.”

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