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ECA reveals a tool to monitor the progress of AfCFTA

ECA reveals a tool to monitor the progress of AfCFTA
Photo credit: Dereje Belachew

26 Mar 2018

A key tool for monitoring the AfCFTA will be through a Country Business Index that was revealed at a Business Forum on the eve of the signing of the historic agreement.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) developed the index with the aim of measuring the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area in a way that generates value for private sector operators.

The Executive Secretary of ECA, Ms Vera Songwe explained that the AfCFTA Country Business Index aggregates the opinions of businesses in Africa and articulates them in a way that ranks countries on how well they are implementing the AfCFTA.

“In 2025, if we do well, and if we make the AfCFTA work, the African market will be a $3,6 trillion,” affirmed Songwe. “This is not insignificant for business.”

Presenting additional details on the Index, David Luke, Coordinator of ATPC stressed that the AfCFTA Country Business Index is a tool for listening to business on the actual effect the AfCFTA has on the business environment and challenges countries to make improvements.

“It will be based on periodic surveys of the private sector at different levels, from informal cross border traders to corporates. This will be complemented with additional analysis of public data, including tariff schedules and trade volumes,” he said. Mr Luke highlighted that the index will score countries to recognize performers and identify the laggards.

The AfCFTA Country Business Index tool will benchmark countries in four areas: AfCFTA implementation; ease of trade; trade for development, the SDGs and Agenda 2063; and AfCFTA Impact.

The Business Forum brought together African political and business policymakers to discuss their engagement in the AfCFTA, an agreement expected to create a trade bloc of 1.2 billion people and that commits countries to removing tariffs on 90% of goods and to liberalize services.