Africa’s new free trade zone needs digitisation as top growth engine

With all the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to Africa, there are many exciting changes afoot, and few are potentially more impactful than the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA is a game-changer agreement for the countries who are signatories. Africa accounts for just two percent of global trade. And only 17 percent of African exports are intra-continental, compared with 59 percent in Asia and 68 percent in Europe. The pact is designed to create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating.

Connecting 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion, it will boost regional income by seven percent or $450 billion, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035. Wages will be boosted by 10.3 percent for unskilled workers, and 9.8 percent for skilled workers. Read More.

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