Review of intra-Africa trade liberalisation and the composition of intra-African trade: Implications for the AfCFTA
An objective of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is to create a liberalised market for goods and services. To achieve this, the AfCFTA provides for progressive tariff liberalisation among state parties. This will add to existing intra-Africa tariff liberalisation, since regional economic communities (RECs) will continue to exist.
Currently, there are 13 RECs of which 8 are recognised by the African Union. There are also many bilateral trade agreements and ongoing liberalisation negotiations under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). Some RECs have no trade agreements in place; no trade agreement means no intra-REC tariff liberalisation. However, most countries are members of multiple RECs and bilateral trade agreements. This is a challenge for calculating existing intra-REC tariff liberalisation.
In this working paper we aim to establish where the AfCFTA can add to existing intra-Africa tariff liberalisation. In doing so, we address the following questions: What percentage of intra-REC tariff lines is liberalised? What is the composition of intra-Africa trade? Are intra-Africa imports mostly sourced from fellow customs union or FTA members? Are these imports mainly duty-free?
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