A pan-African market will boost the region but governments are lagging behind on policies to create jobs and diversify the economies
When African Union leaders meet in Addis Ababa to ratify the continent's free trade area on 9-10 February, it will be against a backdrop of gloomy forecasts about global economic trends. In part, that environment has added urgency for the regional economic communities to speed up policy convergence between members states and encourage investors into these expanded markets.
For African policy-makers three international developments stand out this year. First, United States-China trade tensions, which could still escalate into longer-term disruption, are slowing down trade and pushing down commodity prices. But some advocates of de-globalisation, with some desperation, argue that it might encourage more Chinese and US investment in other regions including Africa.
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