Africa needs better economic integration, now more than ever

Over the last few weeks, rumors—and then a few stories—have emerged that the long-expected implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement due on July 1 would be delayed for up to a year while the continent deals with an unprecedented economic crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the African Union hasn’t formally confirmed any intention to pause their plans, it hasn’t seemed totally unrealistic this would be under consideration during such unprecedented times.

AfCFTA, which was ratified by enough African countries last year, created the world’s largest free trade zone with a combined GDP of $3.3 billion. Dropping trade barriers between African countries would boost trade on the continent by over 50%, according to some estimates. Others believe it would double intra-continental trade in Africa.

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