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Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VIII

Bringing the Continental Free Trade Area About

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) promises to give a significant boost to the continent’s economy and, in particular, to support industrialization and structural transformation. In this context, the 8th edition of Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA VIII) looks at what will be needed to ensure that the CFTA is implemented and that iintra-African trade plays a more dynamic role in contributing to economic transformation in Africa. Drawing on political economy analysis, the report analyses what kind of institutional set-up will be needed to ensure the CFTA’s implementation as well as the capacity development needs at the national, regional economic community and continental levels. The report also provides an update on the expected benefits of the CFTA’s implementation, as well as the usual chapter on the status of regional integration in Africa.

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A win-win approach to the CFTA

Sharing the benefits of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is important not only for reasons of equity, but also to ensure that the agreement actually works for countries at different levels of development. Trade agreements that are not win-win can remain unimplemented as partner countries have little interest in implementing them (Jones, 2013). If the gains are perceived as being captured by only a few countries, trade agreements may unravel (as seen with the earlier phase of the East African Community [EAC]).

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