“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises to raise the standard of living for more than a billion people by making it easier for Africans to trade with Africans”
This narrative is rather misleading, if it’s not a well calculated, albeit, dishonest PR gimmick by the african officicals behind this historic and monumental achievement, at least, on the face of it, for now.
It might not be wrong for one to suspect, rightly so, given a catalogue of past disappointments and failures by many african officials who, pretending to act in public interest, usually signed and/or entered into agreements that where rather more in their personal interests and less in public interest, that there’s no such hidden personal motive in finally bringing AfCFTA into force – as commendable as it is.
It is not easy to trust most african [government] officials or take them on their words. One does so, on one’s peril, especially where big money and opportunities for wheeler-dealing is involved!
It is better and good advice for one to start from suspicion of and question their motives, and put the onus on them to demonstrate honest dealing and earn one’s trust; even then, one must trust them in bites of doses, on an incremental basis.
To say or claim that AfCFTA will “raise the standard of living for more than a billion people by making it easier for Africans to trade with Africans” is rather disingenuous a claim and one perhaps made by intentionally ignoring the fact that africans have been trading with africans – cross border trade is common in Africa and has been the norm for centuries.
The cogent question to ask, however, is what africans trade mongst themselves?
The trend has always been, and it remains, that africans are trading other people’s (foreign) goods -mainly industrial goods – amongst themselves and importing foreign services and knowledge in form of “education”
This is made possible [worse] by the fact Africa is more a consumer than a producer continent of finished goods – goods that are essential and therefore needed for daily use – despite being a major producer of some of the best raw materials essential for production of such essential finished/final goods. This is what “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” should focus on and seek to address.
The AfCFTA should have a solid industrial development framework. Industry development and manufacturing are extremely essential.
African countries should be able to use their own natural resources and raw materials to produce, manufacture products (goods) to the standards that the rest of the world not only can consider as an option but as essential and therefore have a need for in daily use. This is important!
It is important to ensure that african products (goods) – “Made in Africa” – are needed, not simply considered and treated as optional products in [by] the world consumer goods sector.
“During the same period, the value of trade between China and Africa exceeded $200bn, and projections suggest it is still growing.”
Despite that seemingly impressive figure in US Dollars terms, it is critical, and let us not ignore that for expediency purposes, to honestly ask ourselves the question: what kind of trade is there [currently] between China and Africa[n] (countries)?
How much ‘african’ consumer goods leave the African continent to China and are conspicuously displayed in chinese shops in China the same way chinese products (goods) are conspicuously flooded in Africa from construction materials to, as shameful as it is, foodstuff?
China is (has taken to) feeding Africa, the continent, indisputably, of plenty, endowed by mother nature with everything. The only continent of the globe that indisputably symbolises, if it isn’t the basis of, the “Paradise-Garden-of-Eden” concept.
That the “African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” is now into force, a historic achievement nonetheless, it should seriously seek to redress the existing imbalances in trade between Africa and the rest of the world. It should seek to renegotiate existing trade agreements with its trading partners and the rest of world, if it is going to benefit Africa, by creating trading and commercial opportunities, to improves millions of lives.