Will the AfCFTA accelerate inter-African economic integration?
- AuthorMunsu Kang
As a result of efforts toward a single market, African countries are moving forward on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and preparing to become an integrated market from 2021. According to the World Bank (2020), the economic impact of the AfCFTA is prospected to reach nearly US$450 billion by 2035, which is a promising future for the 54 member countries. While the African Union targets 2035 to complete the AfCFTA, there are still several issues remaining for African countries to implement this trade agreement consistently. This opinion summarizes the potential problem of implementing the AfCFTA. First, even if regional economic groups such as ECOWAS, EAS, and SADC embrace intra-regional trade, the actual trade volume within the region is not that high as we may expect. It turns out that African countries could consider the value chain of raw materials to produce value-added goods for increasing RVC, which takes time. Second, the AfCFTA does not guarantee unconditional free trade between countries when the countries’ priority on protecting producers and trade liberalization conflict with each other. Third, sanitary and phytosanitary measures may push the barrier up of market access for small-scale producers, especially those who sell agricultural products. Lastly, transportation infrastructure in the African continent may be improved to connect country to country. Even if there are still challenges to achieve an economically integrated continent, the AfCFTA may certainly increase intra-continent export volume and contribute to income growth, poverty eradication, and development. It is time to carefully review the potential problems and conflicts for the brighter future of the AfCFTA.
- KIEP opinions_no202.pdf (644.37KB / Download:263)