Driving Business in Africa – Panel Discussion on AfCFTA

Driving Business in Africa - Panel Discussion on AfCFTA

Driving Business in Africa – Panel Discussion on AfCFTA: “The African Continental Free Trade Area: What is it, where does it stand, and what does it mean for the global business community?”Held 2:00 PM GMT on Wednesday, October 28th 2020. In June 2018, 49 African states signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase intra-African trade and remove current barriers to continental economic integration. The Agreement went into force in May 2019, and the operational phase of the Agreement was initially due to commence in July 2020. Since then, the entire world has been turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the death toll from Coronavirus infection is relatively low compared to the global average, the pandemic has already wrecked economic havoc on the continent. Full and partial lockdowns along with border closures and international supply chain disruptions drastically reduced economic activity on the continent. The World Bank has stated that Africa has entered its first recession in 25 years. Increasing intra-Africa trade is crucial to sustainable economic development on the continent. Implementing the AfCFTA can accelerate the post-Covid recovery, open regional markets to African businesses, and pave the way towards a prosperous, economically integrated Africa. In order to allow governments to focus on the current public health crisis, the commencement of the Agreement was pushed back to January 2021.