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October 24, 2008
African nations create joint trade market

Africa’s 26-country trade zone.

A summit ended Wednesday in Kagala, Uganda, with the creation of a single regional free trade market encompassing 26 African nations.

As part of the three-party agreement, the nations plan to create a single airspace and customs union, implement regional broadband access and provide compensation to poor member countries. Leaders see this as the first step toward an Africa integrated and empowered both economically and politically.

Blogger Chirol of “Coming Anarchy” sees the agreement as grounds for optimism, but notes that transportation and corruption may pose threats to the new system.

Blogger “EB” agrees that the agreement could potentially make the African economy a more powerful player in world trade, particularly with India and China.

Emma Kansiime at the “Pearl of Africa” blog supports the move while questioning its potential, citing a lack of interest and the possibility of corruption and foreign domination.

Blogger al-Amin of of “Signed, AK” expresses hope for success, expecting cheaper inter-African trade and fewer imports, resulting in less African dependence on foreign governments and institutions.

African countries have struggled to find economic success in the global economy, and African leaders have long advocated for a more unified continental effort.

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