Southern African Regional Stakeholder Forum
The historic signing in Kigali of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area by 44 African countries in March 2018 and the subsequent securing of 22 ratifications in April 2019 signals a new era of intra-Africa trade and investments with the creation of the largest trading bloc in the world. The African Continental Free Trade Area has the capacity to accelerate the regional integration process in Africa as goods, and services can move freely and regional infrastructure development will be significantly enhanced.
However, in Southern Africa, despite various initiatives and strong political commitment, the pace of integration has been relatively slow in the region. . This is unfortunate in view of the immense economic potential that could be unleashed through effective integration in the region, which is home to the continent’s relatively industrial economy. Enhancing and accelerating the integration process would provide numerous opportunities to promote intraregional trade and investment; increase human resource mobility; encourage specialization among countries; develop regional value chains; encourage diversification and competitiveness; and consolidate production infrastructure and processes across borders in order to achieve economies of scale.