AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA (AfCFTA)
Keith Gottschalk, retired senior lecturer, University of the Western Cape
Most African presidents agreed in 2018 to create the world’s largest free trade area . Nigeria, with Africa’s largest GDP, finally signed in June 2019, with reservations . The AfCFTA will embrace over one billion people and have a combined GDP of over thirty trillion rand . Economists expect it to significantly increase inter-African trade .
This lecture will give a historical overview of these precedents and then introduce the ambitious vision of the African Union and its regional economic communities versus the obstacles facing implementation of these treaties . It will trace the proposal for an AfCFTA back to the Abuja treaty of 1991 and conclude with a long-term view of the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area.