In an effort to create a single continental market for goods and services in Africa, with free movement of products, money and people, 44 out of 55 African countries have agreed to the African Continental Free Trade Area. The AfCFTA, which came out of a summit in Rwanda in March, would create one of the world’s largest free-trade areas. This pact, if ratified, would be the largest trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
Landry Signé is a David M. Rubenstein fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution and was born and raised in Cameroon.
"By coming together, African countries are finally deciding to remove many of the barriers to trade,” Signé said.
By 2030, Africa is expected to have almost 1.7 billion people — according to the United Nations — and account for $6.7 trillion in trade. The trade pact would lift tariffs on 90 percent of goods. But 10 countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, have yet to sign on. Aubrey Hruby, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said concession by those two nations is only a matter of time.
“I do think eventually they will join," she said. "It’s just on what terms and when.”