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African Continental Free Trade Area a Potential Game Changer

May 8, 2019

Africa's intraregional trade includes manufactured products like motor vehicles while exports to the rest of the world consist mostly of commodities. (iStock by Getty images/thegift7770)

In 2018, African Union members established the African Continental Free Trade Area in an effort to boost regional trade. They agreed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalize the trade of services and address obstacles to trade between African countries. The African free trade agreement has since been ratified by 22 countries and is likely to take effect later this year. The IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa studies the potential impact of the agreement that will establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion dollars. In this podcast, economists Reda Cherif and Geremia Palomba say this could be an economic game changer for the continent.

Geremia Palomba is a Deputy Division Chief and Reda Cherif is a Senior Economist in IMF's African Department.