AfCFTA risks missing out on green trade opportunity

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) brings high hopes for business and socio-economic development – but the link between the framework and the environment is missing and needs to be included, reveals a UN study.

After being pushed back by six months, the AfCFTA came into effect on January 1, hailing a bright future for the continent’s trade. With 54 out of 55 African Union member states signatories of the deal – Eritrea is yet to sign – the idea that intra-African trade volumes could increase to match that of other continents is closer to becoming reality.

The AfCFTA creates a single market, eliminates tariffs on 90% of goods produced on the continent, and aims to tackle non-tariff barriers to trade that weigh on intra-regional flows.

While sustainable socioeconomic development forms a key pillar of the benefits of the agreement, the relationship between trade and the environment, or the ‘E’ in ESG, is yet to be woven in.

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