How can the EU contribute to making the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) work?

Event Type

Location / Date
Online, 24.06.2020


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), European Center for Development Policy and Management (ECDPM)

Thoughts on deepening trade relations between the EU and African Union (AU) at a continent-to-continent level were prompted by former EU Commission President Juncker in September 2018, who expressed a vision of the future creation of an EU-Africa Free Trade Area. While the formalization of trade relations based on reciprocal tariff concessions currently faces limited incentive for African countries as the majority of AU members either already enjoys unilaterally granted preferential market access to the EU under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and its Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, or has been integrated with the EU in a number of trade agreements including the EPAs, the EU recognises the need for strong EU support to the establishment and implementation of the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). There are important challenges and opportunities to be taken into account in the further operationalisation of intra-African trade relations, and linked to this considerable prospects for strengthening cooperation between Africa and the EU such as aid for trade, private sector development, trade facilitation support, domestic resource mobilisation, adjustment policies etc. and potentially deeper provisions in existing cross-continent integration schemes, such as EU investment commitments.

This online expert workshop discussed the measures and support needed to successfully implement the AfCFTA, reflecting in particular on the role of the EU and was the second of two webinars that brought together experts from Africa and Europe to share their perspectives on the AfCFTA and its implications for AU-EU cooperation.

The event was part of a series of policy briefs and webinars ahead of the AU-EU summit, jointly organized by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), and the European Center for Development Policy and Management (ECDPM) with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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