Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA)

2411-8206 (online)
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The publication's overall objective is to provide analytical research that defines frameworks for African governments, the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities, towards accelerating the establishment of the African Common Market through: the speedy removal of all tariff and non-tariff barriers, obstacles to free movement of people, investments and factors of production in general across Africa, and through fast-tracking the creation of an African continental Free Trade Area.
Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VIII

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Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VIII

Bringing the Continental Free Trade Area About You do not have access to this content

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06 Dec 2017
9789213615591 (PDF)

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) promises to give a significant boost to the continent’s economy and, in particular, to support industrialization and structural transformation. In this context, the 8th edition of Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA VIII) looks at what will be needed to ensure that the CFTA is implemented and that iintra-African trade plays a more dynamic role in contributing to economic transformation in Africa. Drawing on political economy analysis, the report analyses what kind of institutional set-up will be needed to ensure the CFTA’s implementation as well as the capacity development needs at the national, regional economic community and continental levels. The report also provides an update on the expected benefits of the CFTA’s implementation, as well as the usual chapter on the status of regional integration in Africa.

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  • Acknowledgements

    The eighth edition of Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA VIII) is a joint publication of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

  • Foreword

    The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is the first flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and a key initiative in the industrialization and economic development of the continent. It has the potential to boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation, foster structural transformation, improve food security, enhance economic growth and export diversification, and rationalize the overlapping trade regimes of the main regional economic communities. Fundamentally, the CFTA aims to provide new impetus and dynamism to economic integration in Africa.

  • Report structure, key messages and policy recommendations
  • Introduction
  • Status of regional integration in Africa
  • Conceptual issues in the political economy of integration and the CFTA
  • Revisiting the case for the CFTA
  • A win-win approach to the CFTA

    Sharing the benefits of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is important not only for reasons of equity, but also to ensure that the agreement actually works for countries at different levels of development. Trade agreements that are not win-win can remain unimplemented as partner countries have little interest in implementing them (Jones, 2013). If the gains are perceived as being captured by only a few countries, trade agreements may unravel (as seen with the earlier phase of the East African Community [EAC]).

  • A win-win approach to the CFTA
  • Financing for bringing the CFTA about

    Bringing the Continental Free Trade Area CFTA about will require financing for its implementation. Getting the most out of it will also require financing for its flanking policies, including the Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) Action Plan. Ensuring that the CFTA is win-win for all countries necessitates an approach that considers the different resource capacities of CFTA member states.

  • CFTA governance
  • The CFTA in a changing trade landscape

    The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is being negotiated in an evolving trade landscape. The multilateral trading system is in crisis after the failure of the Doha Round and populist anti-globalization sentiments in several large trading nations. The rapid rise of emerging market economies has caused a fundamental shift in the trade patterns of many African countries. The controversies surrounding the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Brexit require new thinking on restructuring trade relations with Europe. Africa’s trading relationship with the United States, having developed under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), is likely to transform into reciprocal arrangements by 2025 in a post- AGOA agenda. The so-called “mega-regional” trade agreements that once threatened Africa’s preferential trade with established partners, now have evolved into a different threat of protectionism. Finally, new modes of trade such as e-commerce are putting pressure on demands for new trade rules.

  • Phase 2 negotiations—Competition, intellectual property rights and e-commerce

    The scope of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) includes disciplines on competition policy and intellectual property rights. Negotiations on these two areas are expected to be launched after the conclusion of the negotiations on goods and services. These disciplines are not usually included in a classic free trade agreement but would create a level playing field for all economic operators and facilitate policy convergence through common regimes in areas that affect liberalization of goods and services.

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