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Africa’s Peace and Prosperity Begin at Home

For too long, Africa has been a strategic plaything of world powers. By bolstering its internal cohesion and economic integration, the continent can become a strong geopolitical force with an independent and unified voice on important global issues.

ADDIS ABABA – Africans must take responsibility for our continent’s affairs. We have all the ingredients we need to succeed, starting with a growing population – including a large and increasingly educated cohort of young people – and a favorable trade and investment environment. And now, determined to usher in an era of African peace and prosperity, we have a mature institutional platform through which to forge, articulate, assert, and defend our common interests under an independent, unified African foreign policy.

At a time when protectionist beggar-thy-neighbor policies are on the rise globally, Africa is poised to implement a single common market in the form of the African Continental Free Trade Area. This pact will lay new foundations for continent-wide economic growth: the World Bank recently forecast that AfCFTA could boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035 and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. In addition, closer economic integration within the region will inevitably make every country a stakeholder in its neighbors’ security, thereby advancing the greater cause of continental peace.

As Africa integrates, it is increasingly setting its own development agenda and foreign-policy priorities freely and independently of other powers. This represents a sharp break with Africa’s historical role as a geopolitical plaything of world powers.

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