Signing of Africa free trade area accord leaves more questions than answers

What you need to know:

  • Forty-four African leaders gathered in Kigali last month and signed a continental free-trade agreement (FTA). By so doing, they laid the foundation stone for the creation of an enormous free-trade area that will likely facilitate regional integration and inspire economic growth across the continent.
  • Intra-Africa trade has always been hindered by lack of good regional infrastructure. Projects like the highway from Cape Town to Cairo, the Mombasa-Lagos-Dakar trans-African highway and the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor have not been realised.
  • A superiority complex even afflicts nations that are supposed to be equal members in a free-trade zone. A majority of South Africans, owing to their advanced economy, still do not consider themselves African. They consider those from other parts of Africa as coming from the “continent.”
  • The FTA is one strategy with the potential to rescue Africa from the jaws of poverty. As such, we must think big on how to solve infrastructure issues – like extending Kenya’s SGR through Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo into the Pacific, and adding value to our resources by discouraging exportation of raw materials.

Forty-four African leaders gathered in Kigali last month and signed a continental free-trade agreement (FTA).

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