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Last month, IIRR organized a webinar that convened a panel of experts from The World Bank, Syngenta, and the University of Ghana to tackle the Impact of African Free Trade on Rural Development. The discussion conveyed a multitude of perspectives and outlined some of the technical fundamentals of the newly ratified African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA). Around 100 participants from 21 countries coming from various fields learned the benefits and potential challenges of the AfCFTA.

The discussion uncovered the importance of the new agreement particularly on rural development in Africa. AfCFTA brings opportunities for increased revenues and wages for informal traders in Africa. According to Dr. Echandi of The World Bank, once AfCFTA is successfully implemented, 30 million people are estimated to be potentially lifted out of extreme poverty while 68 million people could be lifted out of moderate poverty. This agreement presents better opportunities for Africa’s unskilled workers and women with their wages potentially increase faster by 10%.

Having come into effect on 1 January 2021, the AfCFTA is considered a landmark moment toward achieving the vision of a united and strong African economic market. It will link 54 countries with 1.3 billion people and a combined potential GDP of USD 3.4 trillion into one market.

Watch the webinar here to learn more about its impact on rural livelihoods in Africa: