Africa will fail to reach free-trade goals without new rules and infrastructure

June 1, 2021

To improve their "trade-appeal", an even bigger priority for emerging market economies such as SA would be to remove as many onerous tariffs on goods as possible. While this could allow businesses in other countries to sell their goods here cheaper, that in turn would mean SA consumers have more disposable income to spend on other things they consider important. With such low economic growth over the last few years, and after the devastation of Covid-19 and government-implemented lockdowns, now is the optimal time to remove as many barriers to dynamic economic activity as possible.

Investing and upgrading the Durban Port is precisely the kind of long-term change hoped for as part of the AfCFTA. If African governments were to recognise the potential for increased innovation, investment and job creation in their respective countries it could provide the required impetus that has been so sorely lacking for too long.

In addition to increasing the flow of goods and services, governments should in the spirit of the AfCFTA make it easier for people to cross borders to work and invest in other countries, speeding up the mixing of ideas and novel ways of solving the continent's economic and social challenges.

The SA environment could become the destination for investment and innovation on the continent providing sensible policy changes are made.