Leveraging the African Private Sector to Enhance the Development Impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

Hippolyte Fofack

Published: December 2018

By July 2018 the African Continental Free Trade Area had been signed by 49 African governments, accounting for over 86% of total African trade and 77% of combined GDP, and a total population of 1.2 billion. The Agreement has the potential to accelerate the process of diversification of sources of growth and trade, but it is a necessary, not a sufficient condition for transforming African economies. The transformational power and development impact of the Agreement depend on the capacity of African governments to leverage the African private sector to address supply-side constraints. Success also depends on regional cooperation and symbiotic nature of public-private partnerships in a region where adverse global shocks and market fragmentation have undermined economic integration and weakened the trade bargaining power of countries.

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