The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating economic and social impacts on the African continent. As a consequence, even more hopes are resting on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) entered into force on 30 May 2019. By reducing tariffs and other barriers, signatory states seek to boost intracontinental trade and to overcome the continent’s marginalisation in the world economy. At the same time, they need to find common ground between strong and weak economies and to prevent social conflicts within countries.
How can a Pan-African free trade regime support economic recovery and sustainable development on the continent? What can international partner contribute to this endeavour? What lessons can be learned from other regional integration projects? To discuss these questions, we invited African and European business leaders, political decision-makers, academics and civil society representatives.