Rethinking and Unthinking the AfCFTA: Call for an Integrated Economic and Industrial Policy

Authored By:

F.F. Brace


February 15, 2022

With the introduction of the AfCFTA, African states are about to enter a new phase of global trade. The opportunities that the countries involved can exploit to finally grow their economies, whose resources set global trade in motion, appear to be a turning point for Africa’s economic outcome. However, many issues appear to be on the horizon. Politically, uniting 54 countries seems to be no mean feat, given the multitude of ethnicities and languages that characterise each of the African countries. In economic terms, macroeconomic convergence and trade diversification are the main points of analysis. Indeed, the possible introduction of a single African currency clashes, as in the case of the CFA franc, with the different monetary structures of African countries, and the similarity of exported goods would certainly not facilitate an African economy in a global context of high competition. Finally, the issue of the autonomy and independence of African institutions remains an open question.


“We can no longer continue to make policies for ourselves, our countries, our region and our continent on the basis of whatever the westerners will give us. It will not work, it has not worked...Our responsibility is to charter a path which is about how we can develop our nations ourselves.”

—Ghanian President His Excellence Nana AKUFO-ADDO’s Speech, 07 December2017

 “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

— Milton Friedman

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”

— Milton Friedman

“Basic institutions that protect the liberty of individuals to pursue their own economic interests result in greater prosperity for the larger society.”

— Adam Smith

“...where effective competition can be created, it is a better way of guiding individualefforts than any other... regards competition as superior not only because it is in mostcircumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only methodby which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitraryintervention of authority.”

— Frederick Hayek

"The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge."

— Arthur Lewis

"The end of Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom."

— John Locke