Africa’s historic trade deal has garnered enough votes to go into force. On April 2nd, The Gambia became the 22nd country to approve the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), helping the deal bypass the minimum threshold to go into implementation. The agreement would establish the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. This is happening at a time when an ideological struggle between protectionism and globalization is disrupting international trade. Global trade volume growth is forecast to fall to 2.6% in 2019 from 3% in 2018.
Africa’s awe is not limited to its various tourist attractions but includes its talented citizens who continue to draw attention towards the continent. The youngest DJ in the world, DJ Arch Jnr who thrilled the crowd and judges in America’s Got Talent 2019 edition hails from South Africa.
On the environmental front, Tanzania will join countries such as Rwanda and Kenya who have taken steps towards environmental sustainability. Tanzania plans to ban the use of plastic bags by its citizens in 2019. It is however disheartening to witness countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi at the peril of continuous underdevelopment further aggravated by Cyclone Idai.
Malaria is the scourge of the African continent. There were 219 million reported cases of malaria in 2017, with Africa accounting for 92% (200 million), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The world’s first malaria vaccine, which was created by GlaxoSmithKline in 1987, has faced considerable pushback from both the pharmaceutical industry and cultural interests. On April 23, the WHO launched a pilot project that will administer the vaccine to over 360,000 children across 3 African countries. If the project is successful, it would help raise life expectancy, labour productivity and human capital development (a key to sustainable GDP growth).
This edition of the FDC Afriscope promises to be an eye opener on developments in Africa.
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