Advocating for Free Movement in Africa: Insights from Michael Mutava Milei’s Recent Publication

In a compelling and timely piece titled “Let’s Back Free Movement in Africa for Africans,” published in the November issue of Nairobi Business Monthly, Michael Mutava Milei, a research fellow at the New South Institute (NSI) and a key member of the Migration Governance Reform project, delves into a crucial topic shaping the future of Africa.

Milei’s article addresses a critical issue: the need for a unified, continental approach to foster economic growth and development in Africa. He highlights how historical colonial divisions have hindered African countries from realizing their full economic potential, leading to a situation where even the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African nations falls short of that of a single U.S. state like California.

The narrative takes a sharp turn towards the importance of intra-African trade, which currently struggles due to each country’s focus on external partnerships rather than fostering regional economic relationships. Milei references specific trade deals, like Kenya’s agreement with the European Union and the Rwanda-US AGOA trade deal, to underscore the often one-sided nature of these external economic relationships.

In 2018, African leaders signed the African Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) and the protocol for the free movement of people, aiming to enhance trade and mobility within the continent. Despite the ratification of AFCTA by 47 countries, the free movement agreement has seen limited adoption, with only four countries ratifying it to date. This disparity, Milei argues, hinders the full potential of intra-African trade, as free movement is integral to robust economic exchange.

Milei also tackles the concerns surrounding free movement, emphasizing that it does not pose greater risks than the current challenges faced by African nations. He applauds Kenyan President William Ruto’s efforts towards facilitating free mobility within the continent and urges further action to solidify Kenya’s pan-African position.

This insightful article by Michael Mutava Milei is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of Africa’s economic and social landscape. It provides a well-reasoned argument for embracing a continental approach to growth and development, specifically through the lens of free movement and trade.

We invite our audience to read the full text of “Let’s Back Free Movement in Africa for Africans” by Michael Mutava Milei, available for download. This piece not only reflects the depth of research and expertise at NSI but also contributes significantly to the ongoing dialogue on Africa’s economic integration and development.

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