Intra-African trade is progressing amid the coronavirus pandemic
Last year African countries signed an agreement aimed at increasing trade between across continent. If implemented successfully, they believe it could create a single African market of over a billion consumers.
The plan is that services and goods should be flowing freely in and out of the participating countries, making Africa the largest free trade bloc in the world.
The free trade initiative could create an integrated market with a total GDP of over $3 trillion, according to US think tank Brookings.
Currently, Africa lags behind other regions of the world in terms of continental trade. According to the African Development Bank (ADB), intra-Africa exports amount to only 16.6% of total trade.
Unfortunately, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) did not kick off on July 1 as originally scheduled, due to the coronavirus crisis, but there are other reasons for the stall.
According to Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Centre (Tralac) in Stellenbosch, South Africa, negotiations between African nations are ongoing virtually, but they have now hit "some sensitive issues".
In order to ensure a faster, smoother transit of goods, the nations have had to discuss ways to standardise customs and border management, as well as transit trade.
Hartzenberg says that these negotiations have been concluded, but the changes have yet to be implemented.