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Happy New… Continental Free Trade Agreement!

And Happy New Year too :) May 2021 be kinder to us all.


With the news of the launch of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021, I’ve been reflecting on what the agreement means for digital transformation of the Creative Economy in Africa. I’ve asked a few people and it appears that the simple answer is… well it depends.

Not very helpful, but it does depend on what areas of trade get onto the list of goods / services that various African governments will liberalise under the new protocols of the AfCFTA. The target is to increase intra-African trade by progressively cutting tariffs on 90% of goods (and services I think) by 90% and by simplifying / harmonising trade rules across the continent for more efficiency.

The big questions are:

  1. What are the 90% of goods and services on which tariffs will be cut?

  2. When will this happen? (The target does say progressively which suggests a phased approach.)

The answers to these will emerge in the next few months so stay tuned with updates at: https://afcfta.au.int/en

What I do know though, is that the AfCFTA will potentially create opportunities in a range of areas including: more pan African artistic collaboration leveraging digital platforms, opportunities for more sales across the continent that leverage technology across areas including e-commerce and payments as well as the use of digital tools to develop new connections for future intra African partnerships and trade.

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