The AfCFTA is laudable, but its imminent benefits are overstated


This op-ed by Archie Matheson, published on the African Arguments blog, suggests that the intra-African trade benefits of the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will take time and might be much less significant than thought. According to the current schedule, 90% of goods will be liberalised over the course of 5-8 years; 7% of goods will be classed as sensitive and liberalised over 10-13 years; and 3% of goods will be exempt from free trade entirely. The allocation of goods to these different categories has yet to be negotiated.  “It is unclear what the impact of AfCFTA will be, and when it will start to be felt,” Archie explains. “Therefore, it is imperative that the project does not detract energy and resources from initiatives that are having more immediate impacts on intra-African trade and economic growth,” he concludes.

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