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PANEL 2

IMPLEMENTING AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA (AfCFTA) AGREEMENT AS AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS

Friday, October 2, 2020

9:20am - 10:30pm EDT

Background

The coming into force of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) marked a turning point for Africa’s economic development. The trade zone, in the making for nearly half a century is the largest in the WTO’s 25-year history, is a 1.3 billion people market, majority of whom are young. 

 

The combined spending and investment power of the zone at the time of AfCFTA’s ratification was estimated to be $3.5-4 trillion, creating an important economic bloc, coming on the heels of on an African economy that was set to grow at about 3.4 % in 2019 and projected to increase to 3.9% in 2020.

 

AfCFTA is meant to eliminate 90% of tariffs and create a single market with free movement of goods and services. This is expected to significantly boost intra-African trade and ultimately induce a stronger economic collaboration between member countries. Intracontinental trade was expected to increase by 52% as a result. The AfCFTA secretariat hoped to conclude enough technical work to enable the commencement of trade by July 1, 2020. 

 

And then COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the global economy came to the gridding halt. Global markets account for 88% of Africa’s exports, mostly in oil, mineral resources and agricultural commodities. Public-finance-anchored economic stimulus packages are the dominant engines of rebooting a devastated global economy across Africa’s partners from Europe to China. 

 

So, where does AfCFTA go from here?

Objective of Session

The session aims to explore what role the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will play in Africa’s economic recovery post-COVID.

Speakers

Ikenna Ugwu | Moderator

Ikenna Ugwu is a Masters in Public Policy candidate ‘21 at the School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Ikenna has more than 10 years professional experience in the field of international development, cutting across three continents-Africa, Asia and Europe. With the United Nations World Food Programme, he has worked in difficult and war ravaged countries, contributing to the organization's vision of saving lives and changing lives. He holds a master's degree in human development and food security as well as communications.

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©2020 by Africa Summit at Princeton.