The African Continental Free Trade Area will connect 1.2 billion people with a total GDP of $3 trillion.
Agadir – Ezz El-Din Ghufran, a professor and a dean at the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences Souissi in Rabat, has said that Morocco’s strategic location and the competitiveness of its economy will see a lot of benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that was launched on January 1, 2021.
The Moroccan academic made his remarks at a meeting organized by the Policy Center for the New South, a leading Moroccan think tank. In his presentation, Ghufran noted that Morocco is currently in the process of ratifying the treaty establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will connect 1.2 billion people with a total GDP of $3 trillion.
Ghufran pointed out that Morocco is well-positioned in West Africa in terms of investments. Considering Morocco’s status as a primary investor in the region, argued the Moroccan academic, the AfCFTA will help the North African kingdom to further cement its continental leadership in terms of investments, trade, and services.
Ghufran believes that Morocco has a lot to offer to the continent, given its diversified and competitive economy. He mentioned the country’s improving industrial sector, especially its thriving automotive sector, as one of the many assets an increasingly Africa-focused Morocco could point to when engaging fellow African countries.
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Ghufran also stressed that the AfCFTA would reduce the African continent’s dependency on outside, non-African actors. According to the Moroccan professor, the continental agreement can help in developing African states’ productive capacities, increasing per capita income, and reducing poverty.
According to World Bank projections, the AfCFTA will raise the total exports of its member states to 29 percent, while intra-African exports will rise to 81 percent by the end of 2035.
Ghufran is not alone in expecting a lot from the AfCFTA.
Mohcine Jazouli, Morocco’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, also believes that intra-African trade is a strategic pillar to Africa’s economic development and integration.
In recent months, many commentators and politicians have also argued that AfCFTA has the potential to rival other large trade blocs, such as the European Union. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has notably called the establishment of AfCFTA “the start of a new era of trade between African countries.”