This article was first published on Zwaya By Refinity on 26 June 2022
After six years of planning, strategy and coordination, and now just 16 months since its inception, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the weight of the continent resting on its shoulders. AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4tn across all 55 member states of the African Union, a World Bank report outlines.
However, with the AfCFTA signed, implementation is the next critical hurdle. In the words of its Secretary-General Wamkele Mene in an interview last year with CNN’s Eleni Giokos: “We have completed the easiest part – that is for 55 countries to negotiate a single set of rules. The most difficult part is implementation.”
Successful implementation could see 30 million people lifted out of extreme poverty while raising the incomes of 68 million more, according to the World Bank – but how will this be achieved on a continent with diverse central banking systems and currencies, across up to 2,000 languages?
In a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) panel, moderated by Karen Nadasen, chair of the Ecommerce Forum of South Africa and CEO of PayU, five key insights surfaced that impact the potential of AfCFTA:
"AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4tn across all 55 member states of the African Union, a World Bank report outlines.”