African leaders have reportedly signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) to increase intra-African trade.
The AU website provides the following information about the CFTA:
Objectives of the CFTA
• Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.
• Expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general.
• Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
• Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
It’s good to see that the African Union is taking trade seriously and working towards greater integration even as nationalism and protectionism engulfs other parts of the world. I hope it learns from the mistakes of other regions, especially in providing adequate protection for people whose livelihood will be lost as a result of the opening of markets.