An Overview of Asymmetrical Development
Chapter 5 contains an analysis of intra-African trade. The chapter emphasizes that African regionalism, ever since the period of decolonization, has been aiming at strengthening the economic position of African economies, and making the countries and regions more self-reliant. The Abuja Treaty of 1991 aimed to establish an African Economic Community, comprising all existing regional arrangements. This aim was later subsumed in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was signed in 2018. The analysis of actual intra-African trade patterns shows that the potential of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to generate intra-regional or intra-African trade is limited to between 10 and 20 per cent of all trade. The chapter concludes by looking at the future of the RECs within the AfCFTA, and argues that their position is relatively unclear.
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