BUSINESS: BRICS to Welcome African Grand Free Trade Area, IMC Predicts
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The agreement centres on creating the continent’s biggest free trade bloc to create a single continent-wide market estimated to be worth $1 trillion by 2013. The 26 countries to form part of the accord are located in southern, central and east Africa, with an aggregate GDP of $860 billion and a combined population of 590 million.
“The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will welcome the prospect of interacting with a combined unit rather than having to deal will the countries in question on an individual basis,” Matola said. “In similar vein, the envisaged Grand Free Trade Area (GFTA) would contain considerably more muscle than its constituent parts.”
The BRICS members would then deal with one massive market, instead of 26 separate ones. South Africa is particularly advantaged as it is the only country which is both a member of BRICS and the soon-to-be free trade area.
Matola predicted that the GFTA, once it materialised, would promote greater and more imminent interaction between the BRICS and Africa, given especially the IMF’s ongoing optimism over the continent’s growth potential and the likelihood that GFTA would attract other African countries’ membership in the foreseeable future.
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