Stronger Together: African Union’s Landmark Trade Deal
Fifty-four of the fifty-five nations in the continent of Africa now have a free-trade agreement in motion, which unites 1.3B people. After four years of negotiations, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is now ratified and moving into action.
This deal reduces or eliminates trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, which means member countries and their citizens will have cheaper and wider access to a variety of goods produced by their sister nations. AfCFTA will also help trade negotiations with outside countries, as deals can be constructed to benefit all members of the agreement. Negotiating as one big force can allow for more favorable terms for smaller countries and the group as a whole.
While benefits will be felt quickly, many are hoping that this will spur necessary infrastructure improvements in Africa. Goods need to be transported, and railways and other avenues of trade need to be improved across the continent. These needs are expected to be addressed soon, and the world’s largest free-trade zone will soon be a force to be reckoned with.