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.
Gabon’s economy has reached a critical juncture in 2016, with the drop in global oil prices having increased the need for and urgency of economic diversification, while reducing the availability of public financing to back the transformation. Under the now seven-year-old economic strategy, the Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan, the government has hastened efforts to expand the scope of economic activity, focusing on financial services, tourism and agriculture.