Africa’s free trade area offers great promise. But only if risks are managed with resolve

For all its stutters and missteps, there can be little argument that the European Union (EU) has largely lived up to its ambitious billing: to create stability and growth on a continent that, for a period, was dangerously prone to nationalism and conflict.

The question facing Africa is whether the continent’s free trade area can likewise mitigate conflict and forge a prospering Africa.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a project of the African Union (AU). Founded in 2018, it’s described as a framework through which to deliver “inclusive and sustainable growth”. By July 2019, 54 of the AU’s 55 member states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea the only holdout. While negotiations are still ongoing, the trade agreement officially commenced on 1 January this year. The idea is that it will be rolled out over three phases. Read More.

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