On July 7th, 2019, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) came into force, launching the largest free trade area in the world by the number of participating countries. The agreement is expected to promote inter-regional trade, increase economic growth, and create job opportunities for the African population.
China has been a major player in Africa`s economic development in recent years, and is seen as an important partner in the implementation of the AfCFTA. China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects in Africa, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative aims to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa through an extensive network of railways, highways, ports, and other infrastructure projects.
The AfCFTA is expected to further deepen China`s economic presence in Africa, as it allows for the elimination of tariffs on goods traded between African countries. This will incentivize Chinese companies to invest in Africa, as it will be easier and cheaper to move goods between countries, leading to increased trade and investment.
However, some experts are concerned that China`s involvement in the AfCFTA may lead to African countries becoming overly reliant on Chinese investment.
Additionally, there are concerns that the AfCFTA may benefit larger African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa, over smaller countries with less developed economies. This could result in uneven distribution of benefits and potentially harm regional economic integration.
Despite these concerns, the AfCFTA is seen as a positive step towards increasing African economic growth and creating new opportunities for trade and investment. With the agreement now in force, African countries and their partners, including China, will continue to work towards realizing the full potential of this historic initiative.