The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): opportunities, constraints and way ahead

On January 1st, 2021 the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) came into being. The AfCTFA, a continent-wide Free Trade Area (FTA), is probably the most promising advancement in the recent history of African economies, a landmark step that will have long-term economic consequences for the people of both the African continent and the world. The continent-wide FTA will give African countries a unique opportunity to better integrate in the global economy and to substantially increase intra-African trade (currently only 16.6% of their total trade); by sustaining an economic environment more conducive to reforms able to boost productivity and generate jobs, the AfCTA will also significantly contribute to poverty reduction and the raising of living standards across the continent. When fully implemented, the AfCFTA will bring about a single market with a total GDP of over 3 trillion USD and 1.3 billion people.


Like many other FTAs, the AfCTFA, along with significant advantages, which will bear fruits particularly in the long run, is confronted with a number of challenges. The affiliation of several African countries to different Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and FTAs existing in the continent is for sure a good starting point as a certain degree of free trade already exists. At the same time, to prop up inter-African trade, and its ensuing benefits, some issues need addressing, in particular in terms of: a) the adoption of the same (or similar) standards for good production and service provision across Africa; b) a careful delineation of rules of origin (RoO) – which define which products will be subject to tariff and which won't; and c) a far-reaching removal of non-tariff barriers, including easing of border controls. Negotiations by different African countries on such topics are ongoing and their settlement will have important and positive consequences on many themes, including the harmonization of regulations and standards, reduction of transport costs, definition of RoO, easing of border controls, and, finally, infrastructure development.


Against this backdrop, this webinar aims to shed some light on status of advancement in the implementation of the AfCTFA, while providing insights on the way ahead: for instance, how the negotiations on key topics are making progress. It also purports to offer the business community an in-depth review of the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA. On the one hand, it is tailored in particular to Italian companies, which have been for decades among the major players and investors on the African continent; on the other, it will also give a more specific focus on South Africa, namely the country with the most advanced infrastructures and the most diversified economy on the continent, which has played and will most likely continue to play a pivotal role in the roll-out of the AfCFTA and the progress of the negotiations.


Mar 11, 2021

10 AM - 12 PM (GMT+2)

Agenda

  • 10 AM - 10:10 AMINTRODUCTORY REMARKS
    by H.E. Mr. Paolo Cuculi, Ambassador of Italy to the Republic of South Africa.
    10:10 AM - 11:30 AMPANEL DISCUSSION

    Massimo Dal Checco

    Chairman at Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo

    Alessia Lo Turco

    Full Professor of International Economics at Università Politecnica delle Marche

    Francis Mangeni

    Head of Trade Promotion and Programs at African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat

    Antonella Marucci

    Director of Italian Trade Agency

    Olivier George Serrão

    Executive Director: Economic & Trade of BUSA ( BUSINESS UNITY SA)

    Matthew Stern

    Founder & Managing Director of DNA Economics

    Sandile Tyini

    Chief Director of African Multilateral Economic Relations

    Massimo Zaurrini

    Director of Africa e Affari

    11:30 AM - 11:50 AMQUESTIONS & ANSWERS
    11:50 AM - 12 PMWRAP-UPS AND CONCLUSIONS

    Pamina Bohrer

    Secretary General at Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries

Speakers

  • Pamina Bohrer (Secretary General at Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries)

    Pamina Bohrer

    Secretary General at Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries

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  • Paolo Cuculi (Ambassador of Italy in Pretoria at ITALIAN EMBASSY PRETORIA)

    Paolo Cuculi

    Ambassador of Italy in Pretoria at ITALIAN EMBASSY PRETORIA

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  • Massimo Dal Checco (Chairman at Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo)

    Massimo Dal Checco

    Chairman at Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo

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  • Alessia Lo Turco (Full Professor of International Economics at Università Politecnica delle Marche)

    Alessia Lo Turco

    Full Professor of International Economics at Università Politecnica delle Marche

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  • Francis Mangeni (Head of Trade Promotion and Programs at African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat)

    Francis Mangeni

    Head of Trade Promotion and Programs at African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat

    Read Bio
  • Antonella Marucci (Director of Italian Trade Agency)

    Antonella Marucci

    Director of Italian Trade Agency

    Read Bio
  • Olivier George Serrão (Executive Director: Economic & Trade of BUSA ( BUSINESS UNITY SA))

    Olivier George Serrão

    Executive Director: Economic & Trade of BUSA ( BUSINESS UNITY SA)

    Read Bio
  • Matthew Stern (Founder & Managing Director of DNA Economics)

    Matthew Stern

    Founder & Managing Director of DNA Economics

    Read Bio
  • Sandile Tyini (Chief Director of African Multilateral Economic Relations)

    Sandile Tyini

    Chief Director of African Multilateral Economic Relations

    Read Bio
  • Massimo Zaurrini (Director of Africa e Affari)

    Massimo Zaurrini

    Director of Africa e Affari

    Read Bio

Documents

ItalChamSA Survey on AfCFTA March 2021
Antonella Marucci ICE Johannesburg.pptx
Massimo Zaurrini Africa e Affari.pdf
Sandile Tyini DTIC.pptx
Matthew Stern DNA Economics.pptx
Mangeni AfCFTA.pptx

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