African Continental Free Trade Area – Questions & Answers

  • 11th March 2020
  • by secretary
African Continental Free Trade Area - Questions & Answers

This document was prepared collaboratively by the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the African Union Commission (AUC).

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will 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. In terms of numbers of participating countries, AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

“Manufactures and agricultural goods that will benefit most from AfCFTA. By promoting more labour-intensive trade, the AfCFTA creates more employment.” (page 3)

With average tariffs of 6.1 per cent, businesses currently face higher tariffs when they export within Africa than when they export outside it. AfCFTA will 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.
Consolidating this continent into one trade area provides great opportunities for trading enterprises, businesses and consumers across Africa and the chance to support sustainable development in the world’s least developed region. ECA 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.