With some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Africa has achieved substantial progress over the past decades in reducing poverty, accelerating productivity and expanding its participation in global trade. Despite these efforts, economic development in Africa has yet to reach its full potential with Africa’s intraregional export volumes remaining at a staggeringly low 18 percent relative to that of Asia and Europe which stand at 59 percent and 69 percent respectively. Africa’s significantly lower intraregional trade contribution results from existing barriers not limited to trade protectionism, poor infrastructure and corruption that complicate trade within the continent. In order to facilitate greater regional economic integration, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was established to create a harmonised and liberalised continental market that will promote an increase in trade competitiveness and better allocation of the continent’s resources, ease the movement of people across African borders and resolve the challenges with multiple and overlapping memberships to trade blocs.
Outline of Module 1: Towards greater integration: An introduction to the AfCFTA