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Covid-19 Could Delay AfCFTA

Trade talks ahead of the planned July 1 launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have been put on hold. The launch of the accord, which the U.N. hopes will boost trade within Africa by more than half, is now likely to be delayed—though officials still aim to push it through this year.

As the world grapples with its biggest health crisis in living memory and unrolls budgetary measures not seen since World War II to combat the economic impact of a pandemic that has caused more than 15,000 deaths, officials in Africa are now resigned to delaying the launch of what would become the world’s largest free-trade bloc indefinitely.