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IMF Says AfCFTA Could Work

The head of the International Monetary Fund is urging African countries to implement the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. Speaking Friday in Nairobi, Kristalina Georgieva said intracontinental trade could grow by 53% if steps are taken to remove trade barriers and improve logistics and transportation. Georgieva said there are many benefits to be gained from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA. But first, she said, reforms are needed to capture the full advantages, including what the IMF sees as the number one priority — reducing trade barriers, such as tariffs. “If Africa decides to follow our science for example and bring trade barriers from 6% down to 1%, that would be a major step,” she said. She also wants to see countries use fewer non-trade barriers, like quotas and embargoes, attempt to integrate into global supply chains and diversify their economies. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, head of the World Trade Organization, praised the agreement, but said that to make it work, it’s imperative to reduce the cost of trading within and outside Africa.