Boosting intra-African trade and deepening regional integration offer an effective channel to speed up Africa’s economic transformation. Higher volumes of intra-African trade in agricultural products and the elimination of non-tariff barriers have the potential to boost industrialization and enhance competitiveness, at country and industry levels, through higher investments in connectivity and infrastructure, both physical and digital.
Favourable policies to enhance intra-regional trade on the continent such as the ongoing Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be crucial to building a single continental market for goods and services, along with free movement of labour and capital as well as greater harmonisation in standards and procedures.
The Continental FTA will have a combined GDP of about $2.3 trillion and a population of more than 1.2 billion people, with more than half comprising the youth. It will open up the continent to new investors and better opportunities for its entrepreneurs.
Given the amounts spent on imported food, the demographic changes taking place, the huge opportunities offered by urban markets across the continent not to mention the immense productive potential for agriculture in Africa, it is evident that there are both significant opportunities and a pressing need for greater intra-African and intra-regional agricultural trade.
In order to maximise the benefits of regional integration and look for new opportunities for agricultural competitiveness, policymakers, the private sector and development partners need access to accurate, comprehensive and reliable data on intra and inter-regional agricultural trade in Africa.
Building upon our previous work on regional trade in Africa, we are pleased to launch the 2018 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM). The Report is the fruit of a collaboration between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). It builds on the work by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) and the African Growth and Development Policy Modelling Consortium (AGRODEP) , both facilitated by IFPRI under its work in support of the African Union Commission’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programmes.
The 2018 edition of the AATM examines the status and trends in competiveness of African countries in global as well as intra-African agricultural markets. The report also analyses key determinants of trade performance among African countries, as well as opportunities to expand intra-trade within regional blocks and at the continental level. The report makes an important contribution towards the data and analysis needed to advance efforts to promote intra-African trade and better integrate agricultural markets across the continent.
This report reflects IFPRI and CTA’s commitment to advancing knowledge and sharing of best practices relating to agricultural trade in Africa. We hope it will generate great interest and use of the data and findings by policy-makers and practitioners.