Last month, 44 African nations gathered in Kigali to sign an agreement establishing a framework for the world’s largest free trade area (FTA) since the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995 – but how ready is Africa for such a deal? And to what extent will the Continental FTA (CFTA) be able to enhance intra-regional trade?
With resource-dependent markets recovering from the commodity price shock and the Continental Free Trade Area signed off by 44 nations just last month, Africa’s growth prospects are bright. The UN has forecast GDP to grow by 3.5% in 2018, and sentiment among business leaders is equally strong. In OBG’s Business Barometer: Africa CEO Survey – which interviewed 1000 C-suite executives in nine African markets – 84% of respondents had positive or very positive expectations about local business conditions for 2018, while 74% said that their business was likely or very likely to make a significant capital investment.
While world trade is in the midst of a turbulent period – with US-China relations continuing to deteriorate, the UK disengaging from the EU, and currencies in emerging markets like Turkey and Argentina in turmoil – many countries are seeking to strengthen or foster new relations with Africa.