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Keys to Unlocking the Full Potential of the AfCFTA – A Case Study for Central Africa

24 May, 2023
Keys to Unlocking the Full Potential of the AfCFTA – A Case Study for Central Africa

Yaounde, May 24, 2023, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Subregional Office for Central Africa (SRO-CA) will participate in the 26th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis (GTAP) and International Input-Output Association (IIOA) Conference, both in June 2023, presenting findings on Industrialization and Economic Diversification with a focus on keys to unlocking the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Represented by Ms. Caitlyn Carrico, Economic Affairs Officer, the SRO-CA, has been invited to present economic modelling and national data collection project results at two organized sessions in these two international conferences. Ms. Carrico will present at the GTAP Conference in Bordeaux, France from 14-16 June in a session organized by Mr. Simon Mevel, Economic Affairs Officer at the ECA African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), in collaboration with the Centre d'Études Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII) and at the IIOA Conference in Alghero, Italy from 27-30 June in a session organized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Free trade under the AfCFTA Agreement officially started on 1 January 2021. In response, Central African governments began developing national AfCFTA implementation strategies with the support of the ECA and its partners. A sub-regional AfCFTA strategy for Central Africa is also under development. The AfCFTA is a key opportunity for Central African governments to build upon regional integration strategies, aligning their national trade strategies as well as industrial strategies, to enhance intra-regional trade as well as trade with continental partners. Trade strategies are linked to the productive capacity of each country, and therefore the development of trade strategies re-quires direct linkages with the National Industrialization Plans which, for Central Africa, advocate industrialization based on natural resources and driven by trade, in line with the Douala Consensus. At the sub-regional level, the two regional economic communities (ECCAS and CEMAC) stressed the urgency of developing a Master Plan for Industrial Development and Economic Diversification of Central Africa (PDIDE-CA) in the context of the AfCFTA.

Committed to providing evidence-based advice, the SRO-CA aims to support ECCAS members by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the AfCFTA which accounts for trade and industrial policies. Implementing a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model which captures international trade linkages and production capacity, the potential economic impacts of the AfCFTA on Central Africa region and its countries are examined. At present SRO-CA economic modelling includes results for 7 of 11 Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) member countries available in the GTAP Database used in economic modelling. For the remaining 4 countries, the ATPC has performed data collection for Burundi, and the SRO-CA is currently leading data collection projects in the DRC, São Tomé and Principe, and Angola in collaboration with the ATPC. The SRO-CA recently led project launch workshops in collaboration the governments of the DRC, São Tomé and Principe, and Angola in February and March 2023.

Representing the SRO-CA, Ms. Carrico will present research entitled “Industrialization and Economic Diversification – Keys to Unlocking the Full Potential of the AfCFTA – A Case Study for Central Africa.” Preliminary results show that liberalizing tariffs within the African continent would lead to overall increases in trade among member countries of the ECCAS across all products, except for extraction products which decrease. Trade between ECCAS members and the rest of the continent increases across all products. Extra-continental trade decreases. The most important increases in trade for ECCAS as a subregion occur for heavy and light manufacturing as well as processed food. While the largest current increases in trade for the ECCAS subregion represent import substitution (rest of world imports replaced by rest of Africa imports), simulations illustrating the implementation of economic diversification and industrialization plans are anticipated to increase trade within the ECCAS subregion as well as boost exports to the rest of the continent.

With the completion of the SRO-CA led data collection projects in DRC, São Tomé and Principe, and Angola, the economic modelling of the AfCFTA for Central Africa will be updated to include all ECCAS member countries and will be the most comprehensive CGE analysis of Central Africa to-date. Economic modelling results will be available to policymakers across the subregion to improve decision-making on AfCFTA and industrial and economic diversification policy implementation.

Contact Media
Lot Tcheeko, Knowledge Management Officer
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
637, rue 3.069, Quartier du Lac, Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: +237 222504321


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