Until the 2000s, Africa seemed completely doomed. But since the beginning of the new century, Africans have tripled their income. Countries like Ethiopia are growing at a 10% growth rate year after year. We are starting to see how African companies are expanding internationally. For example, Ethiopian airlines or M-PESA, a mobile phone payment platform.
Nevertheless Africa is far from being a prosperous region. They need to take the next step. And what is that? Well, that would be industrialization. In this context is where the African Continental Free Trade Area has been signed. This is a free trade area that includes most of the African nations.
We’re talking about 52 countries who have signed it. In fact, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea have refused to enter the so called AfCFTA or just CFTA.
So now the question is… Can this treaty change things… or is it just a bunch of nice words? Can a free trade agreement really improve lives in Africa? And, why doesn’t Nigeria, the country with the largest African economy, want to sign it? Today we are going to answer all of these questions.
*Script written by Javier Angulo
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In This Story: Benin
Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as Dahomey, the country gained full independence from France in 1960.
It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east. The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country’s largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) and its population in 2018 was estimated to be approximately 11.49 million.
The official language of Benin is French, with several indigenous languages such as Fon, Bariba, Yoruba and Dendi also being commonly spoken. The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Vodun (commonly referred to as Voodoo outside the country) and Protestantism.
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Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around five and a half million. Eritrea has nine national languages which are Tigrinya language, Tigre, Afar, Beja, Bilen, Kunama, Nara, Saho. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam, with a small minority adhering to traditional faiths.
Eritrea gained de jure independence in 1993 after an independence referendum. National legislative and presidential elections have never been held since independence.
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