The trade agreement for creating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will further empower the economic growth of Africa and it is already one of the largest in the world. João Bosco Monte, the president of the Brazil Africa Institute, stated this. According to him, the agreement will facilitate trade among neighboring countries, as that is one of the biggest challenges of the continent nowadays. The declarations were aired on the program “Voices of the World”, on Radio France Internationale (RFI)
“Most of the times, it is easier to import or sell a product from another continent, such as Europe, Asia, or even the United States then selling from one African country to another. Overcoming that difficulty is one of the great virtues this free trade agreement proposes.”
Monte emphasizes the immense potential of the region, where some of the highest rates of economic growth are taking place in the world. Observe this; international companies have already perceived that potential years ago. He also compares the present moment on the African continent to countries in the Southern Cone of South America in the 1970s. The agricultural production in the savannah or the semiarid African countries can develop just as it happened in the Brazilian semiarid region in the past decades, he believes.
The president of IBRAF also laments that Brazil has been increasingly remote from Africa, due to political reasons, and even to the point of currently breaking relations. “As the government is not doing its part and is not contributing, so companies have shied away. That is not a prerogative of the Brazilian business venturers: the French, Americans, or the Japanese also face this concept”, stresses Bosco Monte. “Yet, they have made the tacit decision to introduce the brands from their countries and have invested a generous amount of resources so that their brands can become consolidated. Brazil does not abide by this policy.”
The African Continental Free Trade Zone clusters 1.2 billion consumers – that will rise to 2.5 billion in the next 30 years. Currently, only 17% of the African raw materials and products are sold within their continent.
The ceremony for signing this agreement for creating the African Continental Free Trade Zone took place last Sunday (7) in Niamey, the capital of Niger. Fifty-four countries have already signed the agreement, and twenty-seven countries have already ratified it. The negotiations took around four years. AfCFTA can create the largest trade bloc in the world. However, African countries are still facing problems, such as insufficient infrastructure, regional disparities, and internal competition.