Emirates Offer

Economic 'game changer'? African leaders launch free-trade zone

Posted on : Friday , 13th September 2019

NIAMEY (Reuters) - African leaders launched a continental free-trade zone on Sunday that if successful would unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.
 
After four years of talks, an agreement to form a 55-nation trade bloc was reached in March, paving the way for Sunday’s African Union summit in Niger where Ghana was announced as the host of the trade zone’s future headquarters and discussions were held on how exactly the bloc will operate.
 
It is hoped that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 - will help unlock Africa’s long-stymied economic potential by boosting intra-regional trade, strengthening supply chains and spreading expertise.
 
“The eyes of the world are turned towards Africa,” Egyptian President and African Union Chairman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said at the summit’s opening ceremony.
 
“The success of the AfCFTA will be the real test to achieve the economic growth that will turn our people’s dream of welfare and quality of life into a reality,” he said.
 
Africa has much catching up to do: its intra-regional trade accounted for just 17% of exports in 2017 versus 59% in Asia and 69% in Europe, and Africa has missed out on the economic booms that other trade blocs have experienced in recent decades.
 
 
Economists say significant challenges remain, including poor road and rail links, large areas of unrest, excessive border bureaucracy and petty corruption that have held back growth and integration.
 
Members have committed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, which will increase trade in the region by 15-25% in the medium term, but this would more than double if these other issues were dealt with, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates.
 
The IMF in a May report described the free-trade zone as a potential “economic game changer” of the kind that has boosted growth in Europe and North America, but it added a note of caution.
 
 
“Reducing tariffs alone is not sufficient,” it said.
 
 
 
The summit also saw the launch of a digital payments system for the zone and instruments that will govern rules of origin and tariff concessions, as well as monitor and seek to eliminate non-tariff obstacles to trade, the African Union said.
 
Reporting by Boureima Balima, Alessandra Prentice, Additional reporting by Alexander Winning and Edward Mcallister, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Edward Mcallister, Dale Hudson and William Maclean

Source : https://www.reuters.com

OUR ASSOCIATES

VIEW MORE

EXPOGROUP

Expogroup is a full service exhibition organiser with over eighteen years experience in International.Trade Exhibitions and Events. Our current portfolio includes 20 annual exhibitions from a diverse range of industries being held across the Middle East & Africa.

EXPOGROUP © 1996 - 2016 | Privacy Policy

Find us here

Subscribe Newsletter

Join our mailing list and receive latest news and advice from us in our monthly Newsletter

Yes, I would like to receive Expogroup E-newsletters

Instant Reply