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Jakarta Post

Setting sights on ‘free trade’ Africa

  • Arifi Saiman
    Arifi Saiman

    Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis and Development on Asia Pacific and Africa Regions at the Foreign Ministry

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 20, 2019   /  09:40 am
Setting sights on ‘free trade’ Africa Global ties: Delegates to the Indonesia-Africa Forum chat, a day ahead of the international conference in Bali’s Nusa Dua. The two-day event aims to discuss issues of economic cooperation and trade. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana)

Africa is rapidly turning into a free trade continent and a single market of 1.2 billion consumers with a combined gross domestic product of US$2.5 trillion. Economic integration is moving faster under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which came into force in May. Pending more ratification by member countries — 27 of its 54 signatories have done so thus far — free trade could become fully operational by July 2020. The poorest continent in the world is rapidly catching up, and Asia may have to accommodate and agree to rename this era as the Asia-Africa Century. Indonesia has caught the African fever, but with AfCFTA, it can do a lot more and faster in tapping the growing economic and business opportunities on offer. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo already appealed to the business community in 2017 to take Africa more seriously as a new a...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.