As Africa continues to grow and develop, trade agreements play an important role in shaping the continent`s economic landscape. With the aim of boosting trade and investment opportunities, African countries have entered into various trade agreements with each other and with partners outside the continent. Here is a list of some of the major trade agreements in Africa.
1. African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): Signed in 2018, the AfCFTA is the largest trade agreement in Africa, covering all 55 African Union member states. It aims to create a single market for goods and services by removing barriers to trade, and increase intra-African trade by 60 percent by 2022.
2. East African Community (EAC): The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising six East African countries – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The EAC has a common market protocol that aims to harmonize policies and reduce trade barriers among member states.
3. Southern African Development Community (SADC): The SADC is a regional economic community comprising 16 member states in southern Africa. The SADC has a free trade area that allows for the elimination of import tariffs on goods traded between member states.
4. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): ECOWAS is a regional organization of 15 West African countries, established in 1975, with a goal of promoting economic integration in the region. ECOWAS has a protocol on the free movement of goods, services, and people, which aims to eliminate trade barriers and promote cross-border trade.
5. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA): COMESA is a regional economic community comprising 21 member states in eastern and southern Africa. COMESA has a free trade area that aims to improve market access for goods and services traded within the region.
6. Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA): The TFTA is a trade agreement between 26 African countries, including those in the EAC, SADC, and COMESA. The TFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services covering 55 percent of the continent`s GDP.
These trade agreements have the potential to increase trade and investment opportunities, promote economic growth, and reduce poverty in Africa. While these agreements are important steps towards economic integration, there are also challenges to their effective implementation. These include non-tariff barriers, inadequate infrastructure, and limited capacity in some countries. Overall, however, these agreements represent a positive step towards greater economic cooperation and integration in Africa.