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‘AfCFTA to boost real income gains by $450bn’

Following the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, there are indications that real income gains from full implementation of the agreement could increase by seven per cent, or nearly $450 billion among the participants.

Similarly, by 2035, the implemention of the AfCFTA agreement would contribute to lifting an additional 30 million people from extreme poverty and 68 million people from moderate poverty in Nigeria and others in the continent. Also, by 2035, the volume of total exports within the continent would increase by almost 29 per cent relative to business.

Intracontinental exports would increase by more than 81 per cent, while exports to non-African countries would rise by 19 per cent. These facts are contained in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): ‘Economic and Distributional Effects’ compiled by the World Bank Group and cited by New Telegraph correspondent.

The report, which was prepared by Caroline Freund, Global Director, Trade, Competition and Investment, World Bank and Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist, Africa Region, World Bank, for the World Bank Group (WBG), emphasised that as African economies struggled to manage the consequences of COVID-19, AfCFTA can provide an anchor for long-term reform and integration. The WBG stated in the report that AfCFTA would significantly boost African trade, particularly intraregional trade in manufacturing. According to the World Bank Group report on AfCFTA, increasing trade can provide the impetus for reforms that boost productivity and job creation, thereby further reduce poverty in the continent.

It, however, explained that AfCFTA was a major opportunity for Africa, but that implementation would be a significant challenge, adding that lowering tariffs is only the first step. Also, reforming non-tariff and trade facilitation measures will require substantial policy reforms at the national level.

The report said: “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides a unique opportunity for countries in the region to competitively integrate into the global economy, reduce poverty, and promote inclusion. “Although Africa has made substantial progress in recent decades in raising living standards and reducing poverty, increasing trade can provide the impetus for reforms that boost productivity and job creation, and thereby further reduce poverty. “AfCFTA can provide this spark.

By 2035, we estimate that implementing the agreement would contribute to lifting an additional 30 million people from extreme poverty and 68 million people from moderate poverty. “Real income gains from full implementation of the agreement could increase by seven per cent, or nearly $450 billion. “As African economies struggle to manage the consequences of COVID-19, AfCFTA can provide an anchor for long-term reform and integration.”

“AfCFTA would significantly boost African trade, particularly intraregional trade in manufacturing. By 2035, the volume of total exports would increase by almost 29 per cent relative to business as usual.

“Intracontinental exports would increase by more than 81 per cent, while exports to non-African countries would rise by 19 per cent. “This would create new opportunities for African manufacturers and workers. These gains would come, in part, from decreased tariffs, which remain stubbornly high in many countries in the region. “Even greater gains would come from lowering trade costs by reducing nontariff barriers and improving hard and soft infrastructure at the borders—so-called trade facilitation measures. “These measures would reduce red tape, lower compliance costs for traders, and ultimately make it easier for African businesses to integrate into global supply chains.

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