Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Africa Watch by email every week.
Africa rang in the New Year with the official launch of a new, continent-wide free trade zone. The African Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA, aims to bring 1.3 billion people into a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, creating a single market for goods and services that could significantly boost intra-African trade and investment.
However, implementation of the agreement is expected to be slow, as experts and officials from the region say significant challenges need to be resolved before the deal’s impacts can be felt. That makes the recent launch, which was delayed from July 1 after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted negotiations, largely symbolic.