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African International Trade Poised to Lift 30 million Africans out of Extreme Poverty

EnergyCapital | The development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is expected to facilitate an inclusive and sustainable platform through which the continent can promote industrialization, job creation, and the competitiveness of African industries on the global stage through intra-African trade, given that Africa's international trade pattern has changed dramatically since the turn of the century.

"Africa's growth has been at its ultimate upturn in recent years," Goolam Ballim, Chief Economist and Head of Research at Standard Bank, one of South Africa's major banking and financial services groups, said in Cape Town on March 10, adding, "For example, since the early-2000s, the continent has seen the region's big economies grow even further; with Nigeria bringing in nearly 8%, Angola 2%, and South Africa rushing ahead with nearly 5% chain g."

The AfCFTA will speed commerce throughout Africa by offering a mutually beneficial trade agreement that encompasses products, services, investment, intellectual property rights, and intra-continental trade regulations, making use of Africa's large, dynamic, and diverse resources. This deal will provide Africa with a significant opportunity to lift up to 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty while also benefiting from the continent's combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

"We know that two-thirds of humanity will be residing between Africa and Asia over the next 30 years, and of course, rising levels of capital income are projected to grow as well," Ballim concluded, noting that African trade with Asia has grown exponentially in recent years, outpacing trade with Europe and North America.

The full implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, which aims to reduce tariffs among member countries and covers policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, is expected to reshape African economies and markets, reducing reliance on other parts of the world while boosting intra-continental industrial sectors such as natural resource exploration, production, and exportation, while also serving to diversify exports, accelerate socio-economic growth, and attract investment.

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