CFC Africa Insights Report : “Implementation of ZLECAF to Have Significant Impact on Africa’s Overall GDP”

The 9th edition of the "CFC Africa Insights" report, focused on the theme "ZLECAF: Harnessing the Potential of Intra-African Trade," was unveiled during the "CFC Insights" conference by the Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA). Co-authored with BMI, a subsidiary of Fitch Solutions, this report highlights the prospects and challenges related to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF) and explores the opportunities it offers to boost the African economy.

By the editorial staff

Covering 54 countries, the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF) has the potential to become the world’s largest free trade area. Launched in 2018, this highly promising initiative aims to connect 1.4 billion Africans across the continent, with an aggregate GDP of $3.5 trillion. Such a transformative agreement can contribute to ensuring inclusive, resilient, and sustainable growth, provided the challenges are addressed.

The ZLECAF represents an ambitious initiative aimed at establishing a single market in Africa, with the reduction of trade barriers being essential for increased market integration and economic growth


« The ZLECAF represents an ambitious initiative aimed at establishing a single market in Africa, with the reduction of trade barriers being essential for increased market integration and economic growth, » emphasized John Ashbourne, an economist at BMI, who presented the report.

A key conclusion of this report highlights the increased emphasis on economic diversification in Africa. Traditionally reliant on commodity sectors, the region seeks to broaden its economic base by investing in higher-value-added industries such as technology, financial services, and tourism. This strategy aims to reduce vulnerability to commodity price fluctuations and stimulate long-term growth.

Additionally, the report underscores the growing importance of innovation and technology as drivers of economic development. Africa is increasingly recognized as an innovation hub, with thriving startups emerging across the region. Investments in information and communication technologies (ICT) and digital infrastructure are essential to unlock Africa’s economic potential and promote digital inclusion.

However, the report also shines a light on persistent challenges facing Africa, including corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and skills gaps. Structural reforms and targeted investments in these areas are needed to overcome these obstacles and promote sustainable development.

Lastly, the report highlights the growing importance of intra-African trade as a driver of economic growth. As African economies continue to integrate further, trade between African countries offers enormous development opportunities. Initiatives such as ZLECAF play a crucial role in promoting regional integration and collective economic prosperity.

A key step towards realizing our continent’s economic potential


« The ZLECAF is an ambitious initiative that represents a key step towards realizing our continent’s economic potential through the stimulation of trade in goods and services and intra-African investments, » said Saïd Ibrahimi, CEO of CFCA, inviting the private sector to further engage in ZLECaf, whose success, he emphasized, requires the involvement of all stakeholders.

Special Representative of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Yacine Fal, continued by highlighting the role of the continent’s regional integration as a pillar of both individual and collective development, recalling the involvement of the AfDB as a leading financier of development projects on the continent.

By leveraging the insights from this report and implementing strategic policies and initiatives, Africa is well-positioned to realize its full economic potential and continue on the path of sustainable growth and development.

In the meantime, Saïd Ibrahimi, CEO of CFCA, announced the upcoming establishment of a debate platform by his institution to support the ZLECAF initiative and promote trade and development in Africa.

The « CFC Africa Insights » publications have been produced by CFCA since 2018, aiming to provide insights and experiences to highlight business opportunities in Africa and promote synergy among members to enable them to invest on the continent with confidence.

For more information, visit : https://casablancafinancecity.com

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