To promote intra-African agricultural trade under the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union Commission's Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development (AUC-DARBE) launched The Framework for Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural Commodities and Services in April 2021. The AfCFTA began trading on 1 January 2021 and is the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of countries covered. It represents a market of 1.2 billion consumers.
The guide is a blueprint for expanding agricultural trade between African countries and aims to unlock the potential of the agricultural sector to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth for Africa. Increased trade represents a paradigm shift away from business as usual and is an important part of the collaborative work towards boosting food security and nutrition for all Africans.
Africa is a net food-importing region of commodities such as cereals, meat, dairy products, fats, oils and sugar, importing about USD 80 billion worth of agricultural and food products annually. A small share of Africa's total agricultural trade is with other African countries. Intra-African agricultural trade is estimated to be less than 20 per cent.
The Framework aims to help policy-makers and the private sector to develop strategies, policies and programmes to promote intra-African agricultural trade and the development of agricultural value chains, so that stakeholders, including farmers, small and medium agri-businesses, women and youth, can reap the benefits of the AfCFTA single market. Action areas include trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, factor market integration and cross-cutting issues including the strengthening of trade and market information systems.
African countries have undertaken commitments to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of over 5,000 tariff lines and to liberalise services. It is estimated that tariff liberalisation in the transition phase could generate welfare gains of up to USD 16.1 billion, and growth in intra-African total merchandise trade of 33 per cent, up from 15 per cent.
The AfCFTA comes after African Heads of State and Government committed in 2014 to triple intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services by the year 2025 as part of the Malabo Declaration.
More information and download The Framework for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) in Agricultural Commodities and Services at FAO website