Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Africa's free trade block
Africa has (or at least will have) a free trade bloc. I feel a little bit like that statement should be made in a Jamaican accent about snow-sports, but the cynicism may well be unfounded. Honestly, I don't know enough about the issue to be able to argue for or against it. Or, indeed to predict the likelihood of it coming to anything. My gut feel is that a free trade block may well be extremely beneficial to South Africa - opening up markets to South African goods and providing much-needed growth-stimulation and new jobs. Oh, and all the massive multi-nationals now establishing a foot-hold in SA, with the fairly transparent objective of accessing the African market. I'm not so sure it'll be good for anyone else. Time will tell, I suppose, whether the skepticism is simply thinly veiled anti-African sentiment - of the sort that suggests that nothing to come out of the 'dark continent' could possibly be good - or if the commentators are spot on and this will simply be yet another high-profile flop on the way to South Africa realising it's only hope for getting rich is to stop caring about the rest of the continent.