Researchers tout scientific approach to understand AfCFTA benefits

DODOMA: A TEAM of local researchers from three universities has advised the government to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) insisting that the agreement will highly benefit the agricultural-related sectors in Tanzania.

They argued that the sectors currently show increased labour employment for both men and women in rural and urban areas.

The researchers who are from the University of Dodoma (UDOM), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), and Mzumbe University insisted that there is a need to use a scientific approach to understand the effects of AfCFTA on the Tanzanian economy.

Through the Pan-Africa Network for Economic Analysis of Policies (PANAP), supported by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC), the experts attempted to evaluate the effects of AfCFTA on the economy where they further advised that the implementation of AfCFTA was likely to enhance intra-African trade through the removal of import duties and, especially, would increase trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.

Led by Charles Mgeni, together with representatives of the EC-JRC, the five-member team conducted a one-day Workshop for direct stakeholders and academic audience, to describe and discuss the research results of the project “The Impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the Tanzanian Economy”. The JRC Team presented the database and useful tools for economic policy analysis.

AfCFTA is a landmark trade deal that has the potential to reshape the economic landscape of Africa.

The AfCFTA was formally established in March 2018 at the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda. It is one of the key priorities of the Africa Agenda 2063 and a major step towards African continental economic integration.

Recently, remarkable progress has been made. Fifty-four of 55 AU member States have now signed the agreement. As of January 2021, more than 30 African countries had ratified and deposited ratification instruments including Tanzania.

Tanzania eliminated export restrictions and foreign exchange controls and, in efforts to liberalise trade, the country has ratified and deposited ratification instruments to the AfCFTA agreement, which consolidates Africa into a 2.3tri/- US dollar market of 1.3 billion people.

However, according to UDOM’s Asiya Maskaeva little is known about the extent to which AfCFTA member countries such as Tanzania will benefit from joining the AfCFTA.

“It is widely acknowledged that, at an aggregate level, trade liberalisation should be welfare-enhancing, however, there are beneficiaries and losers in every trade agreement,” she said.

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