Call for papers: Special Issue on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

16 April 2018


Fifty-five African Heads of States are to sign a free trade deal to replace current regional and bilateral trade agreements covering more than 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of around $3.4 trillion across Africa to eventually be extended to create common policies on investment, competition and intellectual property.

The competitiveness of Africa’s economies depends on the level of productivity of individual nations, regions, and cities to facilitate trade and investment into opportunities for firms, farms, and social and physical infrastructure.

Nigeria and other countries are cautious about the prospects for success, as no one knows with certainty what the CFTA means for economic growth and prosperity and may have limited benefits.

This Special Issue builds on the optimism and pessimism of different experts on the impacts of the agreement. Some expert’s worry the whole exercise could be “unworkably large” and will not address the real reasons why intra-Africa trade is low. The infrastructure needed to facilitate intra-regional business is poor, and most countries don’t produce many finished goods that their neighbours want.

Suggested topics

As trade and competitiveness are linked, the next issue of the ATDF Journal examines how and what realistic opportunities does the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provide for transfer of knowledge, innovation and the transition to a new information technology based economy, and what are the critical policy and implementation hurdles.

A) How the AfCFTA could promote or undermine the transfer of technology and innovation.

  1. Enterprise innovation and competitiveness and opportunities for scaling up production and provision of services;
  2. Infrastructure services: energy, transport, communications
  3. Industry level competitiveness and industrial development agenda;
  4. Infrastructure and trade facilitation

B) The challenges and opportunities of tariff reductions, designing special safeguard mechanisms (SSM) and   designating special products (SP)

C) The continent is not benefiting as much as it should from its minerals partly because of low tax on the profits from its resources and the poor deals African countries cuts with multinational companies. Discuss the legal and institutional developments necessary for better management and reallocation of resources for regional integration in Africa.

D) Democracy and impacts of corruption on establishing rules-based governance, certainty and predictability for the business community when trading or investing across borders.

Guidelines for authors and timeline

The instructions for preparation of the papers can be found here or

The Submission of abstracts around 1 June 2018

  • First drafts (not more than 7000 words) to be submitted by email to ( by 30 June 2018;
  • Final papers (max 7500 words) to be submitted by 10 July 2018

More detailed instructions to prepare the papers can be found here or