The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): what has South Africa actually offered Africa?

Trade Briefs

In early 2021, the AfCFTA started to become a reality, albeit an agreement with many details still to be finalized. The objective for this trade brief is to examine the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) tariff offer by South Africa (actually, this is the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) offer, since SACU makes a collective offer as a customs union) and assess that schedule against the imports into South Africa from non-SACU Africa during the 2019 year. There are many complications in this process that have necessitated this trade brief being an initial and incomplete analysis, but nonetheless it gives some perspective to what South Africa (SACU) offers under the AfCFTA. Since South Africa is by far the largest economy in SACU, South Africa’s imports account for the dominant share of SACU’s imports.

For these reasons, the focus in this trade brief is on South Africa, its imports from African countries, and the tariff offer that South Africa (SACU) has tabled in the AfCFTA negotiations in December 2020.

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