Africa is embarking in one of its major regional integration projects since the African Union was conceived: a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which gained traction through an African Union Decision and Declaration mandating the establishment of the pan-African free trade area by 2017. Considerable progress has been made since, with the official launch of CFTA negotiations last June. A major prerogative for the realization of a CFTA is that fifty-four African States make concessions for the common benefit of liberalized trade. This paper therefore critically looks at what is being considered in the negotiations of a CFTA in terms of objectives, scope, disciplines and timelines. It also contemplates critical elements of operability and functionality of a future CFTA agreement and proposes key elements that may give content and help realize a prospective CFTA which can deliver on the promise of greater intra-African trade.
Journal of World Trade