Towards a Common Investment Area in the African Continental Free Trade Area

Levelling the Playing Field for Intra-African Investment
Release Date:
7 December, 2021

This publication builds on prior research at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and furthers the Commission’s contribution to the dialogue on investment initiated in 2013 by African Ministers of Trade. It draws on interdisciplinary research, including economic, legal, and policy analysis, to provide insights and policy options for building a conducive environment for productive investment that unleashes dynamic effects of improved competitiveness, innovation, and digitalization across the continental market. The study is prepared against the backdrop of Phase II negotiations of the AfCFTA which cover protocols on investment, competition, and intellectual property and Phase III negotiations on an e-commerce protocol.

The main objective of the publication is to offer policy recommendations to Member States wishing to take advantage of the economies of scope and scale of the envisioned AfCFTA Investment Protocol to attract productive investment which can be channelled towards higher value-adding activities, such as those in the knowledge economy and in the spheres of technology, innovation and digitalization. As Africa is facing a steep decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunities presented by a continental common investment area could hardly have arrived at a better time.