Intra – African Trade – Boosting Trade and Development in Africa
Boosting Intra-African Trade reflects a growing focus in the region on addressing the relatively low levels of trade between African countries. Around 10-12 percent of African trade is between African countries, while around 40 percent of North American trade and 63 percent of Western European trade is intra-regional.
In fact there are a number of reasons why facilitating greater intra-African trade could serve as an engine for growth and development on the continent. For instance, the region includes many of the world's fastest growing economies and could be poised to reap the benefits of a demographic dividend and rapidly growing consumer markets. In addition, intra-African trade has the potential to be far more diversified than Africa's current trade with the rest of the world.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) deal between the Common Market for East Africa and Southern Africa; the Southern African Development Community; and East African Community (COMESA-SADC-EAC), launched in Sharm el Sheikh in June 2015, encompasses 26 countries in East and Southern Africa, with a combined population of 600 million and a collective GDP approaching $1.5 trillion.
This agreement envisaged to lead to the creation of a “borderless economy” that would rank 13th in the world in terms of GDP, presents an important opportunity not only to harmonise regulations but also to enable deep intergration amongst African economies, with a focus on boosting intra – African trade and implementing a number of action plans that relate to investment, trade, infrastructure, industrialisation, productive capacity and trade facilitation.
As a region with better and more efficient trade regime, the Tripartite Free Trade Area offers huge intra – Africa trade potential and most importantly as a continent, Africa is a viable and profitable investment destination.
The Africa region has the youngest population in the world and a labour force estimated at 382 million people. The aim is to harness this workforce that is expected to grow to over 500 million by 2020.
With consumer spending already breaking through the 4 1 trillion mark and projected to reach 4 1.4 trillion by 2020, investors are seeking the right opportunity with the right partners.