The AfCFTA objective is to increase intra-African trade by 60% by 2034 by abolishing practically all barriers, resulting in a 1.3 billion-person economic union with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.
Nowadays, African countries trade just approximately 15% of their commodities and services with one another, compared to more than 65% with European countries.
According to the World Bank, if completely implemented, AfCFTA will lift 50 million Africans out of extreme poverty and increase incomes by 9% by 2035. However, execution has fallen well short of that aim, encountering roadblocks such as arguments over tariff reductions and border restrictions prompted by the Covid epidemic.
According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), this year’s summit comes at a “critical juncture” for Africa, noting Ethiopia’s embryonic peace process, wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel region, South Sudan, and jihadist insurgencies in Somalia and Mozambique.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions “have shaken African economies and left many in profound misery,” according to ICG, with food prices skyrocketing.
While Europe’s internal market is linked by energy pipelines, highways, railways, and flight routes, Africa is lagging behind, hampered by aging infrastructure and corruption.