Analysing Intra-African Trade: AFCFTA: Much Ado About Nothing?
, Habtamu Edjigu
& Andreas Freytag
Published: December 2018
In March 2018, most African heads of state gathered in Kigali to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), marking the culmination of intense negotiations. A number of central issues remain unresolved: it is an agreement with a substantial sensitive/exclusion list for tariffs on goods, with strict product-specific rules of origin and institutions for remedying trade that could be abused to protect domestic lobbies. The regulatory content of the AfCFTA could be described as ‘WTO-minus’, although it does bring non-members of the World Trade Organization into the fold. The level of ambition in the services negotiations seems to be low so it is likely that further liberalisation will be pursued over time, encompassing new areas such as e-commerce.