In a recent report titled “Future of Trade: Africa,” released during the World Bank/IMF Annual meetings held in Marrakesh, Morocco, Standard Chartered Bank has projected significant growth for African exports. According to their analysis, by the year 2035, African exports might approach the $1 trillion mark, experiencing a surge of up to 30% because of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The report elucidates that if all goes as projected, Africa’s total exports might touch $952 billion by 2035. Upon the full implementation of the AfCFTA, there is potential for this figure to grow by an additional 29%. This corresponds to an annual growth rate of 3% from the present year until 2035.
One of the noteworthy forecasts is the boom in intra-Africa trade. It’s projected to escalate to $140 billion by 2035, which would make up 15% of the continent’s total exports. This indicates that regional trade and enhanced connectivity could be the driving factors for elevated growth corridors within and beyond Africa.
Dr. José Viñals, Group Chairman of Standard Chartered PLC, shared his views on the AfCFTA’s role in Africa’s economic growth. He expressed his optimism, stating that with effective implementation, the AfCFTA can revolutionize future growth trajectories. The potential benefits include diversified exports, higher value-add supply chains, and an escape from historical reliance on commodities. These improvements align with multiple Sustainable Development Goals, marking substantial progress. He further emphasized the bank’s commitment to bolster connections within Africa and beyond by using their global presence, innovative solutions, and local knowledge.
Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Standard Chartered Africa Middle East, underscored the importance of the AfCFTA in light of recent disruptions to Africa’s supply chains. He believes that the findings of the report shed light on the vital requirements to significantly amplify Africa’s exports, an area where the AfCFTA can provide enormous benefits. He emphasized that realizing this potential opportunity requires effective governance, strategic collaboration, and the right regulatory frameworks.
In essence, while the AfCFTA presents a monumental opportunity to elevate Africa’s economic landscape, its success is contingent upon collaboration, strategic governance, and timely policy implementation.