Africa’s Trade in Services and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

In recent years there has been growing interest in the role and position of the services sector and services trade in structural transformation and development. This is associated with the services sector’s significant share in domestic and global value added and employment, the increasing tradability of services and the notable proportion of foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing to the services sector. The role of the services sector in facilitating production and trade in other key sectors of the economy, particularly manufacturing, is also of growing importance in the context of global value chains. In the light of pressure on developing countries to liberalise their services sectors in North–South trade and investment agreements, often before domestic and regional frameworks have developed sufficiently, the need for a developmental trade strategy for the services sector has become more pressing. This report examines the growth and structure of trade in services in Africa and its importance for services trade policy formulation and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations on services trade.