Africa

Africa heading for its own single market

On 21 March 2018, 44 of the total of 55 African states signed the founding treaty for a new pan-African free-trade zone. The foundation of a common single market not only eradicates most of the customs tariffs between the states, but also reduces red tape and liberalises many legal stipulations. Where rules cannot be harmonised, the individual state’s regulations will be able to persist on the basis of mutual recognition. Some individual issues still need to be clarified, for example as regards rules on competition and the zone’s external relationship to third-party countries. All of this will most probably trigger a comprehensive reform of the continent’s economic and political structure. In the long term, the free-trade zone looks set to visibly boost growth in Africa. The goods trade between African countries has to date been significantly underdeveloped for various reasons. Amongst other things, the ethnic, political and thus also economic…