Borderless Africa

A Sceptic's Guide to the Continental Free Trade Area

Part of the African Arguments series
April 2024 9781787389441 296pp
EU Customers


The African Continental Free Trade Area, established in 2018, represented a monumental step forward for Africa in terms of meeting longstanding aspirations for greater economic and political integration. But it has nonetheless been met with scepticism in some quarters, both within the continent and beyond.

Borderless Africa makes the case for the AfCFTA in an accessible and compelling way, without shying away from technical and academic debates. Francis Mangeni and Andrew Mold take us on a journey through the different dimensions and implications of the AfCFTA, the largest free-trade zone in the world, starting with its underlying economic rationale. Pointing to the numerous historical examples of successful regional integration, they argue that the African continent will need to take on board such lessons as the agreement is implemented. They discuss, too, the more controversial elements of the AfCFTA, including the freedom of movement protocol, contending that this should not be seen as an optional extra, but as an intrinsic part of the accord.

Also exploring the role of external partners in the construction of an economically stronger, more united Africa, this fascinating study reveals how the AfCFTA is contributing to sustainable development across the continent.


Borderless Africa unpacks data on intra-African trade to reveal that this under-researched subject holds the clue to understanding the changing trajectory of development in Africa.’ — LSE Review of Books, ‘Recommended Reads for Understanding the Economy Today’

‘The book does some beautiful myth-busting about intra-African trade.’ — The East African

‘An illuminating insight into the African integration question, reminding us that Africa’s integration is not a given; it will always be a struggle against the great forces of internal and external geopolitics. A timely and welcome addition to the seminal works on this subject.’ — Dr Edem Adzogenu, co-founder of AfroChampions

Borderless Africa is the sort of book our forefathers—the ones who dreamed of regional integration and the AfCFTA—would have wanted the world to read. The positive statistics combined with rich history tell the true story and value of Africa to the global business community.’ — Ambassador Erastus Mwencha, former deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission and former secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

‘A clear roadmap of the possible pitfalls and opportunities that would ultimately hinder or deliver the African dream of a single market, presenting the promise and challenges of that prospect with realistic clarity. An excellent volume.’ — W. Gyude Moore, former Liberian Minister of Public Works, and Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development

‘Borderless Africa explores the intricacies and provides a clear view of the possibilities and challenges of intra-African trade within the AfCFTA. A must-read for policy-makers.’ — Marisella Ouma, intellectual property and trade expert

‘A robust and optimistic illustration of regional integration in Africa. This seminal text makes a forceful case for the AfCFTA as the region’s most effective and practical  approach to holistically growing the role Africans play in today and tomorrow’s global arena.’ — Dennis Matanda, President and Chief Executive Officer, Morgenthau Stirling, Inc.

‘Francis Mangeni and Andrew Mold offer great insights into Africa’s novel programme of continental economic integration. I fully endorse this book and recommend it to general readers as well as policy-makers and -implementers.’ — Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development Trade Tourism Industry and Minerals, African Union Commission

Borderless Africa is the first work to systematically explore all the economic arguments for the AfCFTA, and also the first to take its genesis back to its African intellectual roots. An excellent and timely book.’ — Astrid Haas, Urban Economist, African Development Bank

‘Intra-regional trade has a major role to play in allowing Africa to achieve its abundant growth-potential, particularly in an era of increasing global trade tensions. This informative, insightful and challenging book is an essential read for policy-makers, researchers and students.’ — Raphael Kaplinsky, Emeritus Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex,

‘Mangeni and Mold delve into the opportunities that the AfCFTA offers. I wholeheartedly endorse this book as a guide and a must-read for anyone dreaming of participating in Africa’s most aggressive vision of economic development.’ — Issa Baluch, founder and CEO, Swift Freight International, and former member of the Dean’s Council, Harvard Kennedy School

‘Beyond African economic integration, the book offers a thorough, wide-ranging and rigorously backed African economic history, with lots of myth-busting, global comparisons and a wide evidence base. It makes a compelling case for a borderless Africa in an optimistic but realistic light.’ — Bruce Byiers, Head of the African Economic Integration Team, European Centre for Development Policy Management


Francis Mangeni is the Coordinator of Regional Advisors on the African Continental Free Trade Area, and former COMESA director of trade, customs and monetary affairs.

Andrew Mold is Senior Economist at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and has worked at the UN in Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

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