Home » Africa’s Exports to Hit $1 Trillion by 2035, Boosted by AfCFTA

Africa’s Exports to Hit $1 Trillion by 2035, Boosted by AfCFTA

Trade Surge Anticipated as AfCFTA Unlocks New Growth Corridors

by Adenike Adeodun

The visionary projections from Standard Chartered Bank paint an optimistic future for Africa, predicting a monumental rise in the continent’s total exports to $1 trillion by 2035. This forecast is not just a figure pulled from the air; it is a calculated prediction hinging on the successful and full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA, an ambitious initiative, is seen as a pivotal factor that could drive a significant 29% increase in Africa’s export value, leveraging the continent’s vast potential for intra-African trade and beyond.

At the heart of this optimistic forecast is the unveiling of a comprehensive report titled “Future of Trade, Africa,” which was launched at Standard Chartered Bank’s inaugural business forum of 2024 in Accra. The event, graced by the bank’s CEO in Ghana, Mansa Nettey, was not just a ceremonial gathering but a strategic move to illuminate the path forward for businesses and stakeholders within the continent. This report is not merely a document; it is a beacon of insight, meticulously crafted from in-depth research, surveys of business leaders across Africa, and expert analysis on key policies and major opportunities awaiting to be seized under the AfCFTA.

Mansa Nettey emphasized the report’s foundational purpose: to guide African economies towards establishing robust manufacturing sectors, steering clear of the pitfalls associated with over-reliance on commodity exports. The document argues for the development of value chains and the addition of value to products destined for local, regional, and global markets. This strategy is pivotal in transforming the economic landscape of Africa, enabling it to rise above the challenges posed by the single market initiative and achieve sustainable growth and development.

One of the report’s standout revelations is the substantial impact the fully implemented AfCFTA could have on Africa’s trade dynamics. Beyond the staggering prediction of reaching a trillion-dollar export milestone, the report sheds light on the transformative potential of increased intra-African trade. The projected 81% boost in intra-African exports, reaching $140 billion by 2035, underlines the critical role of AfCFTA in enhancing regional trade levels and connectivity. This, in turn, is expected to unlock high growth corridors across the continent, making a case for the economic integration that the AfCFTA aims to achieve.

The regional breakdown provided in the report underscores the variegated benefits across different parts of Africa. The forecasted growth in intra-regional trade is impressive, with intra East Africa anticipated to grow by 15.1%, intra West Africa by 13.2%, and Central Africa by 12.9%. These figures are not just statistics; they represent a future where African countries are more interconnected, collaborating more closely in trade and investment, and leveraging their collective strengths to foster economic growth and development.

The “Future of Trade, Africa” report serves as a crucial reference for navigating the waters of the single market initiative. It lays out key recommendations and strategies for businesses and stakeholders to harness the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA. By focusing on value chain formation and value addition, the report advocates for a shift away from traditional export models towards a more diversified and resilient economic framework.

This comprehensive analysis and the optimistic forecasts it contains are a clarion call to action for African leaders, businesses, and stakeholders. It highlights the significant economic opportunities that lie ahead, provided there is a concerted effort towards the full realization of the AfCFTA’s potential. The vision of a trillion-dollar export economy by 2035 is not just a testament to Africa’s potential but also a challenge to the continent to embrace change, innovation, and collaboration.

In sum, the Standard Chartered Bank’s report on the AfCFTA and its projections for Africa’s trade future are a beacon of hope and a roadmap for economic transformation. By advocating for the development of robust manufacturing sectors, the avoidance of the commodity trap, and the maximization of intra-African trade, the report sets a clear path towards a more prosperous and interconnected African continent. The journey towards this bright future requires dedication, strategic planning, and collective action, but the rewards, as outlined in the report, are well worth the effort.

Source: Graphic Online

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