This week, Africa has witnessed, what has many described as a historic milestone, which heralded a new era of economic integration among the member states. The newly implemented The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to bring a new window of opportunities to member countries and to take the continent's trade activities into new heights of success.
The effectuation of the agreement is a long-time coming for a continent that has been beset by weak internal trade activities and poor market linkages. Without exaggeration, the implementation of AfCFTA is groundbreaking undertakings for a continent, which is in short of good news.
With hopes mounting and the major barrier broken, the agreement, if properly managed, will boost and expedite the making economic integration within the continent.
For long, lack of comprehensive trade deals has been taking its toll on economic transactions of the continent preventing the countries to ease restrictions such as tariffs and other preconditions.
Now that the agreement is officially put in to practice, countries are bracing for a boost in their economic transactions ultimately speeding up political integration in the continent.
Despite huge potentials and massive opportunities with big population and production capacity, Africa has not been trading with itself and its trade balance with the other countries has been more disadvantageous for the continent due to low quality products, financial constraints and other shortfalls.
The nature of international trade is tilted to serve the developed world that flexes their mussels not only in the political realm but also in the economic frontiers.
In some cases, much of the trade platforms provided by the biggest economies have mainly gone unused and failed to make a difference. The fact is African countries should first trade with itself before competing in the global markets.
In this regard, The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents the member with ample opportunities to exchange African-made commodities and foster transactions by breaking barriers and easing trade restrictions.
It is an opportunity that each country has to bring its own products and meet the demands of other fellow African states the results of which would be diversification of quality products in the continental level.
Africa is not foreign to big projects but most of them have failed to meet intended goals due to lack of political commitments, poor institutional and regulatory capacities and other shortcomings. As it was witnessed in previous times, big projects like this have been more of a paper values with some doomed dead on arrivals.
The failures have shuttered down optimism and squandered precious opportunities. African this time needs to learn from the past and display a real commitment in materializing the flagship project and it behooves the responsibility of all member states that are parties to the deal. Incepting and using the opportunities are different kettle of fish. Vividly, the implementation of the agreement proves more tough and challenging.
In fact, the stakes are high and the pitfalls are many when it comes to implementing such a mammoth deal. Effectively implementing the deal requires less rhetoric but more action. Practical engagement is what has become the order of the day and Africa should learn to do things on its own.
And, when Africans comes out effective in the project, they do not only boost their economic activities but also boost their confidence in the international markets.
Timely evaluation of the agreement, proper revision of instruments and also drawing lessons along the way are worthwhile in the successful implementation of the accord in this regard.