AfCFTA

Afrika tar ytterligare steg på vägen mot frihandel

Financial Times skriver om det stora afrikanska frihandelsavtalet som håller på att förverkligas. Insikten har kommit att bistånd och planekonomi inte ger välstånd och att marknadsekonomi och frihandel är vägen framåt. Frihandelbloggen har tidigare skrivit ...

Afrika tar ytterligare steg på vägen mot frihandel

Financial Times skriver om det stora afrikanska frihandelsavtalet som håller på att förverkligas. Insikten har kommit att bistånd och planekonomi inte ger välstånd och att marknadsekonomi och frihandel är vägen framåt.

Frihandelbloggen har tidigare skrivit om African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA):

”At a time when much of the world seems to be cooling on the idea of free trade, at least one region is growing increasingly enthusiastic: Africa. This year, 54 of the continent’s 55 states — with only recalcitrant Eritrea on the sidelines — signed up to a free trade area that encompasses 1.2bn people and output of more than $3tn.

The project has gathered strong political momentum, going from conception to enactment in less than three years. Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, has called it the continent’s boldest attempt to bring to life the pan-African ideals espoused half a century ago by independence leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah. Colonialism left a Balkanised continent of primarily subscale economies. Most of them have arbitrary borders. Sixteen are landlocked. The African Continental Free Trade Area is an opportunity to remake the continent in its own image and in its own interests.

There is a strong economic case to be made. Only about 18 per cent of African exports are traded within the continent, against nearly 60 per cent for Asia and 70 per cent for Europe. African countries have agreed to cut tariffs to zero on 90 per cent of goods. That and other trade-facilitating measures should increase intra-continental commerce by more than 50 per cent in four years, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

More trade could bring many advantages. Too many African countries are stuck in colonial-like trading arrangements, exporting raw materials and importing manufactured goods. The free trade area should encourage both specialisation and higher value-added exports. Research shows that African countries trade more sophisticated goods with each other than they do with the outside world.

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There are many obstacles. The greatest is effective implementation. The African Union has a history of grandiose pronouncements but poor follow-through. The next phase will be to hammer out dull but vital agreements on non-tariff barriers, rules of origin and dispute resolution. Countries also need to build the infrastructure — soft as well as physical — to facilitate smooth trade, linking their countries with road, rail and interconnecting power grids. They also need to streamline customs procedures, often maddeningly slow. Just as important, they must redouble efforts to lift education standards, with a particular emphasis on the vocational skills that can help people participate in more interconnected economies.

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“We have reached a moment in our history when Africa needs investment more than it needs foreign aid,” Mr Ramaphosa told the FT’s Africa Summit in London last month. In this, multilateralism is the best way forward.

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Afrika: AfCFTA går sakta framåt

Frihandelavtal driver ofta fram institutionella förändringar. För Afrikas del en viktig effekt. Rilwan Akeyewale, CEO of Grandir Inc. har skrivit en bra sammanfattning av tänkta fördelar och nackdelar med African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCF...

Afrika: AfCFTA går sakta framåt

Frihandelavtal driver ofta fram institutionella förändringar. För Afrikas del en viktig effekt.

Rilwan Akeyewale, CEO of Grandir Inc. har skrivit en bra sammanfattning av tänkta fördelar och nackdelar med African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) från affärsmagasinet How we made it in Africa.

Målet med AfCFTA är enligt uppgift att skapa ett afrikanskt EU. Dit är nog vägen lång, å andra sidan handlar det just nu enbart om att underlätta handel mellan de afrikanska staterna. 44 länder har skrivit under och fler är på väg att ansluta sig.

Akeywale rekommenderar att problem hanteras genom förbättrad lagstiftning. En effekt av handelsavtal är ofta att lagstiftning moderniseras och blir mer lika mellan länderna som ingår i avtalet.

Ett intressant exempel är Kanada som allt mer lämnar sin interna protektionism som ett resultat av ACTA-avtalet med EU.

Det kan förstås medföra onödig byråkratisering, men för Afrikas del överväger garanterat fördelarna.

”Without comprehensive policy-making and preferential treatment for Africa’s most at-risk economies, the AfCFTA could prove to be a force for economic divergence, rather than a force for good. It is therefore important that participating countries build an efficient and participatory institutional architecture to avoid leaving any economies behind.

To increase the impact of the trade deal, industrial policies must also be put in place, especially those concerning SMEs and manufacturing. These must focus on productivity, competition, diversification and economic complexity.

Furthermore, individual countries under the agreement should introduce policies that address the concerns of labour unions, encourage healthy competition without killing local businesses, ensure strict adherence to waste disposal and protect intellectual property.”

 

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