On The Benefits of AfCTA after Coronavirus Pandemic in Africa.

On The Benefits of AfCTA Given the birth of African Continental Free Trade Area, the presumed world’s largest single market, 53 African Union members including Nigeria, the purportedly continent largest economy ratifying the agreement, the proposed establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area headquarters in Ghana, it is therefore imperative that the benefits of AfCTA be highly examined. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has estimated that the implementation and execution of the AfCTA could increase the intra-African trade by 52.3 percent by 2022, compared with trade levels in 2010, and possibly double the share of intra-African trade. This is because the pact targets a boost in intra-African trade by bringing 1.2 billion Africans under single market with cumulative GDP of over $3.4 trillion. Also, the agreement will advocate for the African countries to remove the tariffs on 90 percent of goods, liberalize services, encourage free movement of people within the African territories, and possibly introduction of free trade area later in the future. From the foregoing, it can be deduced that AfCTA will be the new ‘Messiah’ and the ‘Heaven’ that economists and policy makers have imagined for Africa. It is therefore necessary to examine the benefits of this ‘New World’ of Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), once comes into fruition will provide opportunities for socio-political progress, economic growth and sustainable development for all African countries, adding that the efforts of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in eradicating poverty in the world, especially African countries will be highly complemented with the agreement. There is no doubt such agreement will ultimately promote economic sustainability in the continent, thereby reducing the poverty level in Africa. The AfCTA promises to promote the intra-African trade among the signees by way of removing 90 percent tariffs on goods, while 10 percent of “sensitive items” will be followed later. That is, 90 percent of goods will be liberalized over the course of 5-8 years; 7 percent of goods will be classed as sensitive and liberalized over 10-13 years; and 3 percent of goods will be exempted from the free trade totally. However, critics have argued that the removal of tariffs will generate an annual loss of $4.1 billion. That the power to label a good as “sensitive” resides in the member countries because the agreement is yet to specify which goods will be classified as “sensitive.” They believe that such measure will not guarantee an equitable revenue for the member countries. But the estimated figure shows that the world’s largest single market will entirely create an overall annual income of $16.1 billion in the long run and drastically increase the GDP in the next decade. This shows that there is a highly prosperous future for the African countries through AfCTA. More so, the pact will reduce the importation of goods as well as smuggling in Africa. There would be a single continental market for goods and services across the continent which will enhance free movements of business, professionals and investments. And there may be an acceleration of Continental Customs Union and African Customs Union. The free movement of goods and services will therefore not only reduce importation and smuggling but also prevent Africa from becoming the dumping ground of foreign goods especially from the parties in ongoing trade war between China and America. Finally, the Africa Continental Free Trade will provide job opportunities for the masses as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds. The pact will attract the growth of many sectors in the next decade including Agriculture which employed 53 percent labor forces in 2016.

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A resourceful individual with a considerable zeal for expansive learning, having considerable skills in Critical Thinking, Analytical Thinking, Journalistic skill, Complex Problem Solving skill, and Decision Making. Tunde Morakinyo graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifè Osun and The Polytechnic, Ìbàdàn, Ìbàdàn, Oyo State where he studied Philosophy and Mass Communication respectively.