It was originally hoped that the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) would merge the three blocs into one transcontinental body. Although that goal was not achieved, the agreement will begin to capitalize on the continent’s recent 5% economic growth rates by reducing tariffs between signatory countries. The African continent has long been known for its plentiful resources, but in recent years countries have taken steps to operationalize profitable systems for agriculture and mining. Analysts project the deal will generate $1 trillion in economic activity and increase trade between African countries from 12 to 30 percent. The larger markets created by TFTA allow for goods to be manufactured on a cost-effective scale and also increases lender confidence in African markets. Analysts assert that the trade agreement needs to be supplemented with other growth-oriented initiatives to be successful, such as improved transportation infrastructure and more transparent institutions.
This multi-national agreement sets a precedent for the long awaited Pan-African trade union. This highly publicized goal of the African Union was formally discussed at the AU summit this month ahead of its tentative introduction in 2017.