PETER LEON: ECONOMIC NATIONALISM IN AFRICA’S GIANTS HOLDS BACK FREE TRADE

Author: Peter Leon 

SA, Nigeria and Egypt have not signed up to crucial aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

A significant milestone has been reached in the economic integration of Africa with the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Opened for adoption at the AU summit in Kigali in March 2018, the agreement establishing the AfCFTA has been signed by 54 of the 55 AU member states and ratified by 28, including major economies such as Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and SA. It entered into force in May 2019.

The AfCFTA is the culmination of an ambitious project announced in the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action, to enhance Africa’s economic self-reliance and reduce its dependence on trade and aid from overseas. The AfCFTA aims progressively to remove barriers to the free movement of people, capital, goods and services throughout Africa, creating a common market akin to that in the EU’s foundational 1957 Treaty of Rome, which is based on the sanctity of these four freedoms.

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