RE: “Obasanjo: CFTA will enable Africa shift from aid to trade” (The New Times, March 20). Africa has now started making the real steps toward a union. The journey has been long and taken too much time but let’s assume that the ongoing African Union reforms, spearheaded by President Paul Kagame and other African leaders will show us what exactly needs to be done to achieve a proper union. The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), if well implemented with collective political will, shall benefit the 1.2 billion people.
But let us assess the potential benefits that are likely to come from a successful implementation of CFTA. This can also be benchmarked to the existing similar unions like EU.
The following could be some of the benefits that everyone should be looking forward to once this agreement is signed:
Access to a 1.2 billion people market across Africa;
The CFTA will open global markets to African firms on strong terms;
CFTA member countries will easily attract investment, both intra-Africa investment and foreign investment;
Free movement of labour within the African boundaries will uplift African economies and fill capacity gaps in different countries;
Businesses in Africa will be guaranteed on supply not limited to geographical boundaries;
With access to the wider market, production will increase and this will trigger employment opportunities for the youth.
Popularising benefits of the CFTA agreement should be the first step toward implementing this agreement. It’s also important that political will follows the implementation.
Yes, Africa has just started to walk towards a real beneficial union.