Most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, excluding Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, are among the smallest in the world in terms of the size of their domestic markets. What should be the policy strategy to help overcome their low economic density, long distance to world and regional markets, and thick borders?
One initiative that can strengthen the integration of SSA countries is the Framework Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed by 44 countries in Rwanda on March 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, four of SSA’s resource-rich countries did not sign the agreement: Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Without them, the signatories trade less than 5% regionally, compared with 25% for SSA as a whole.
Preferential trade agreements to leading world markets are other initiatives available to boost SSA trade. Among them, two stand out: the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Everything But Arms (EBA), respectively extended by the United States and the European Union since 2001. This Africa-Trade Seminar will showcase various aspects of these initiatives and more, to inform a research agenda on Africa in the New Trade Environment.