How continental free trade benefits Africans

BY ANDUALEM SISAY GESSESSE – Experts and senior government officials FROM EASTERN African countries have met in Asmara, Eritrea, for the first time from November 5 -7, 2019.

They were gathered for their 23rd annual meeting that deals with growth and economic integration of the eastern Africa region.

One of the discussion topics is how eastern Africans benefit from the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) currently ratified by about half of the African Union remember states.

The experts are gathered fro, namely, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

This 16 minutes video, which is a mix of a video presentation by UN Economic Commission for Africa, and BEHAK Multimedia PLC – publisher of New Business Ethiopia, provides experts’ views with the full picture of what AFCFTA means to Africans and how African countries create millions of jobs every year and boost their economies by implementing the free continental trade area deal.

AfCFTA aims to cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member States of the African Union. Reports show that the population of Africa is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, at which point it will comprise 26 per cent of what is projected to be the world’s working age population, with an economy that is estimated to grow twice as rapidly as that of the developed world.

AfCFTA aims to progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-African trade, making it easier for African businesses to trade within the continent and cater to and benefit from the growing African market.

A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that AfCFTA has the potential both to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by eliminating import duties, and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.