Should the RECs disappear in order to have the AfCFTA?
There are high expectations about the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), an ambitious and comprehensive plan for the establishment of a continent-wide free trade area, could bring. According to the World Bank, as African economies continue to struggle to manage the consequences of COVID-19, the AfCFTA can provide an anchor for long-term reform and integration. Expectations for real income gains and the lifting of nearly 100 million people out of extreme and moderate poverty are, however, conditional on effective implementation once all foundational elements of the Agreement have been concluded.
As at October 2021, tariff schedules, rules of origin, and conditions for trade in the five priority services sectors are still being negotiated. Once in place, the private sector and investors can expect preferential trade and opportunities for doing business across Africa’s many borders to become a reality. That is, after all, the raison d’être of the AfCFTA.
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