Trade Policy at Work

The Continental Free Trade Area: Enhancing Economic Development in Africa

Africa is well endowed with a large share of the world’s natural resources as well as two thirds of unexploited arable land. Nonetheless, the continent remains a marginal player in global trade, a situation exacerbated by very low intra-African trade. As other regions conclude mega-regional free trade arrangements, and with negotiations at the multilateral level stalling, African countries risk being further marginalized in terms of trade. Accelerating work on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) provides an opportunity for the region to mitigate these risks. This briefing paper discusses merits of the CFTA and its potential to enhance economic development in Africa.