South Africa and Nigeria in intra-African trade

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Junior Research Fellow, Centre for Global and Strategic Studies, Institute for African Studies, RAS
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 9

This article deals with the topical issue of the impact of global trends on intra-African trade dynamics and the recent progress of integration processes. Intra-African trade has increased significantly over the last twenty years, but it is still smaller than in other regions of the world.

While the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is a noteworthy achievement, it is only the beginning of a major of what is likely to be a long and challenging process of boosting intra-African trade, particularly when implemented alongside trade facilitation measures. Projected increases in intra-African trade are highest for industrial products which demonstrates the role the CFTA can play in driving Africa’s structural transformation.

This paper analyses the political economy of trade policymaking in Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, to better understand which country will lead the integration process. Both have played major roles in the integration processes of their respective regions. In West Africa, Nigeria has long been the motor behind regional cooperation in ECOWAS. However, the country often takes protectionist measures in trade with its neighbors, slowing down the ECOWAS market integration agenda. South Africa, meanwhile, has played a dominant role in the development of Southern Africa, strongly influencing SADC trade dynamics. South Africa is essential in the AfCFTA negotiations.

Our study concludes that South Africa has a stronger economic position in regional affairs than Nigeria, and is entitled to be considered a regional power in Africa.

Keywordsintra-African trade, regional power, trade integration, AfCFTA Agreement, Africa
AcknowledgmentThe publication was prepared within the framework of the RFBR scientific project No. 19-014-00019 "Sanction and regulatory targeting of national elites as a tool of global governance and international competition."
Publication date28.09.2020
Number of characters21014
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