This study is part of the series "Shaping the Future of Multilateralism - Inclusive Pathways to a Just and Crisis-Resilient Global Order" by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung's European Union and Washington, DC offices.
The momentous African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which went into effect on 1 January 2021, demonstrates the continent’s desire to carve its own economic destiny. But as Africa’s biggest trading partner, the European Union’s actions will have a strong impact on the project’s chances of success. The EU’s historical record suggests it would benefit from more serious listening to what its African partners want on trade.
Table of contents
Africa’s free-trade area signals intent for a new kind of relationship with the EU
The gridlocked multilateral trading order
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Africa, Europe, and the global trading system
Conclusion and recommendations