Economic Commission for Africa is optimistic on the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement on the socio-economic development in Africa, here’s how

The Principal Policy Advisor, Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr Joseph Atta-Mensah says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement will impact positively on the socio-economic development in Africa.

Economic Commission for Africa is optimistic on the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement on the socio-economic development in Africa, here’s how
  • Economic Commission for Africa the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement will impact positively on Africa’s socio-economic development.
  • The AfCTFA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area
  • It is expected to unite 1.3 billion people on the continent.

Dr Atta-Mensah while speaking at a media engagement in Accra noted that the AfCFTA would be a game-changer for Africa if it would be inclusive enough.

The AfCFTA, which is headquartered in Accra provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.

Dr Atta-Mensah commended the enthusiasm African leaders exhibited towards its formation; right from March 2018 in Kigali and by July 2019 it was operational and that it was going to take full effect by July 2020.

He said the trade was a strategy for development and therefore if African countries trade among themselves, it would lead to the transformation of their economies.

He urged African countries to add value to their products before exporting them; citing that Ghana should be able to produce enough chocolate and cocoa butter for the export market, adding that, the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by 52%.

He further noted that the positive potential of AfCFTA towards boosting intra-Africa trade would be achieved if African countries eliminated illicit financial flows (IFFs).

"Study that has been done in ECA and others, shows Africa at the minimum loses about $50 billion every year (through IFFs). Now this $50 billion is the minimum, it could be more. Some studies even put at $150 billion a year," he stated.

He added that "The question is that our infrastructure needs for Africa are about $100 billion a year in order to bring out infrastructure to the world-class stage. We need money for our educational system. If we can unplug all this IFFs we can channel all this money into our development."

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