The quest for Africa’s decolonization is existential and must therefore go beyond platitudes and rhetoric. The exhortation by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni on the risk of decolonization losing its “revolutionary potential” is germane: decolonization “comes from within, as a revolutionary concept that speaks about rehumanization—which is a fundamental planetary project”.
To ensure that innovative capacity is developed on the continent, it is pertinent to promote regional innovation. As a starting point, negotiators of the AfCFTA may consider including in the text appropriate provisions that will allow the collaboration and nurturing of innovative capacity in Africa. Open innovation is an approach that meets the needs of Africa and is worth considering.
Halting the rapid transmission of COVID-19 and reversing the trend of consequential global distress is a global concern and goal. As the WHO has rightly pointed out, this goal is only achievable when everyone, everywhere can access the health technologies they need for COVID-19 detection, prevention, treatment and response. This highlights the importance of international cooperation and solidarity for restoring global health security, now and for the future.
A new economic wisdom seems to be informing the development agenda of international economic institutions, including the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO). The argument is that, although global value chains (GVCs) have existed for a long time, the pace and intensity of global interactions is rapidly changing, consisting of ever more functional ‘fractionalization’ and geographical ‘dispersion’ of production, and so is the nature of trade, with the unprecedented increase in the exchange of components and tasks originating in different parts of the world.
The Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA is far more than just a trade agreement. It embodies long-held aspirations for an integrated Africa which, in the words of Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, would be better equipped to “tackle hopefully every emergency, every enemy and every complexity.” As one of the flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the free trade initiative is envisioned as a pathway to an African renaissance in both economic and cultural terms. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA could integrate 55 African Union (AU) member states in a market of about 1.2 billion people with an estimated gross domestic product of US $ 2.5 trillion. Moreover, the area is expected to reflect the continent’s “common identity by celebrating our history and our vibrant culture.”
It is trite to mention that the benefits and costs from trade expansion may never be evenly distributed across ACs. However, the estimated revenue loss should not be considered as an absolute loss for ACs as the long-term benefits, facilitated by adjustment support remain significant. It will allow comparative advantage to thrive, thereby granting customers and firms access to cheaper products/raw materials in the continent.
Intra Africa trade remains at its lowest ebb and perhaps this sad state of affairs can only be remedied by the actualization of the envisaged Africa Economic Community (AEC). To this extent RIAs, such as those under study in this paper, offer viable building blocks and learning curves for negotiating in the much larger multilateral trade system.
For the objective of AfCFTA not to be defeated through the menace of trade-based laundering of illicit funds, African member states must be proactive to ensure that all necessary measures and regulations are put in place in combating TBML that may ensue therefrom before AfCFTA comes into full implementation.
In the grander scheme of things, amidst the crisis of climate change in which the vulnerability of Africa continues to unravel, Africa remains a preferred choice of FDI in agriculture for the export of green energy and for food. This situation raises concerns about displacements, conflicts, shrinking traditional landraces and continental food security writ large. The traction for agricultural FDI comes through the scheme of large scale agricultural land acquisitions, which activists framed as agricultural “land grabs”.
The AfCFTA seeks to change the manner in which African states trade with each other. The existence of the AfCFTA is what Roscoe Pound termed using the law as a tool of social engineering. The African Union in creating the AfCFTA intended to promote, facilitate and eventually experience free intra-African trade. This review appreciates the AfCFTA but seeks to criticize a loophole it has created