In any case, if you are a difficult problem, join the continental queue: demography, climate change, jobs…. Trade is no silver bullet. Nevertheless, the engagement of African leaders to create the AfCFTA is one of the most encouraging efforts at driving development in recent decades.
For now, trade between African countries accounts for just 16% of the continent’s trade, compared to 60% for countries trading with each other within the European Union. But the upside goes further than a narrow trade bump, lucrative as that might be; it opens up a common market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined economic weight of $2trn. A fully realised AfCFTA will have structural impacts in both the politics and economics of Africa.
First, the politics. Africa’s borders were a European project, many of them drawn at the Berlin Conference of 1884. West African countries, for example,
There's more to this story
Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.
Already a a subscriber Sign In