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Trading in Africa

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A booming demand for goods and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 has given the shipping industry one of its best years.
Photo: Getty Images
A booming demand for goods and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 has given the shipping industry one of its best years. Photo: Getty Images

We have all seen the remarkable statistics: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is now in force, will create the largest free trade area in the world, connecting 1.3bn people in 54 countries with a combined GDP of $3.4tr and open trade opportunities worth trillions of dollars.

But the aim of establishing a single African market and stimulating trade is beset with challenges from the outset, some of the most pressing being the lack of infrastructure to facilitate trade, countries’ protectionist policies and the fact that many countries have done more to establish trade links with Asia and Europe than they have with each other and have no immediate plans to change that.

With the right moves and intentions, however, the AfCFTA can provide the basis to ramp-up intercontinental trade and improve the economies of African countries.

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