Forbes magazine reported the latest developments regarding CFTA, technically known as the Continental Free Trade Area. CFTA is making the African continent the largest free trade zone on the planet.
Countries from Egypt to South Africa have joined the pan-African trade deal. According to the African Union, the objective has been to have CFTA in place before the end of 2017.
In the absence of CFTA, intra-African trade accounted for about 12 percent of total trade on the continent. This contrasts with about 60 percent in Europe and approximately 40 percent in North America.
The implementation of CFTA has not been without at least some controversy. This is seen in regard to other free trade agreements involving multiple nations around the globe. Nonetheless, support for the trade agreement has generally been relatively strong across the African continent.
With the implementation of CFTA in Africa, nearly all points on the planet will participants in broader free trade agreements. Having said that, there have been isolated movements away from these agreements, most notable the United Kingdom in the process now known as Brexit. In addition, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken steps to pull back the participation in certain multi-nation free trade agreements. With that said, overall the movement internationally has been to create, rather than avoid or dissipate these types of pan-national trade agreements similar to CFTA on the African continent.