Diversifying Trade in Africa: New strategy approaches for the African Continental Free Trade Area

Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area agreement, one of the most ambitious regional integration efforts of the 21st century, is requiring policymakers to align a wide range of complex and divergent trade strategies across the continent.

If the agreement is to foster economic transformation, its strategic focus may have to deviate from previous efforts. Existing trade strategies focus on trade promotion, finance and small businesses but very little on innovation. While many strategies focus on agriculture and services, few of them focus on manufacturing. To achieve robust regional integration, an increased emphasis on innovation and on higher-value added sectors may be necessary.