Africa's Free Trade Agreement

07.08.2019

Guest Commentary by WIFO Experts Harald Oberhofer and Klaus S. Friesenbichler in "Die Presse"

The WIFO economists Harald Oberhofer and Klaus S. Friesenbichler explain the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) in their guest commentary in the daily newspaper "Die Presse" of 29 July 2019. Signed under the auspices of the African Union, the topic has received little attention in the European trade debate, even though it poses an opportunity for the EU's foreign policy.

It is remarkable that the crisis-ridden African countries were able to successfully negotiate a very far-reaching free trade agreement. A political achievement, which came about without external pressures. This exemplifies both a new African self-perception and self-confidence. So far, signatures have been made. These are important expressions of will that give hope for further steps, but the implementation at the individual member countries level will only become apparent in the next few years. The agreement offers an opportunity to the EU. We currently observe an investment race between China, the USA and the UK on the African continent. Most EU member countries have fallen behind. A trade agreement between the EU and ACFTA could bring the EU back into play.

The op-ed (german) is available here.

Please contact

Professor Harald Oberhofer

Research groups: Industrial Economics, Innovation and International Competition

Klaus S. Friesenbichler

Research groups: Industrial Economics, Innovation and International Competition
Cape Town, South Africa – © Captureson/Unsplash
Cape Town, South Africa – © Captureson/Unsplash