The African Continental Free Trade Agreement

The landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) between 54 African Union Member States will create a continental free trade zone with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion. This briefing paper estimates the intra-African trade impacts of the AfCFTA on Member States. Using the Vivid Gravity Model (VGM), calibrated with historical data, we estimate that African countries are likely to experience greater benefits from regional trade agreements (RTAs) than countries in other regions. Overall, we estimate a potential increase in annual intra-African trade of $5.7 billion – 8.7 billion from the adoption of the AfCFTA with the greatest benefits concentrated in ECOWAS Member States.

This is a working paper and we invite feedback on our indicative findings. This is not a forecast. The actual impacts of AfCFTA on trade flows will depend on effective implementation of the provisions of the Agreement and on global macroeconomic trends. These results serve to highlight countries that stand to gain the most from the effective implementation of the AfCFTA.

Date: July 2019




Industry Manufacturing & Mining


Trade, Investment & Competitiveness