The fund’s new report found that reforming the “fragmented” trade policy landscape and improving the implementation of existing free trade agreements in Africa could help boost some intra-African trade flows by more than 50%.
The economic repercussions could be significant, as the IMF report expected its recommendations to contribute to an increase in real output per capita in African countries of “more than ten percent”.
Achieving this economic progress requires better implementation of the 2018 free trade agreement known as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which covers an area with a total GDP of three trillion dollars by 2022.
The IMF said such a change would also require additional reforms to the continent’s current business environment, in sectors such as transport and border infrastructure.
According to the report, “Regional trade integration will become the engine of the continent’s economies to move towards more growth and job creation in a changing international environment”.
Research on similar proposals suggests they would help lift between 30 and 50 million people in Africa out of extreme poverty, according to the IMF.
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