Commentary Type

Africa in the WTO and the AfCFTA

Remarks at the London School of Economics


I first came to Africa—it was to Abidjan—just over fifty years ago. It was to participate on behalf of the U.S. Treasury in the drafting of the Articles of Agreement of the African Development Fund. My most recent trip to Africa was to Addis Ababa in late February of last year just before the pandemic curtailed travel. I did not think about masks yet, but on landing our party noticed that all airport employees were wearing them, so we did as well. I had gone to Ethiopia to meet with representatives of the nine African countries seeking entry into the WTO, as well as with Ethiopian officials about their own country’s application. These two visits are the African bookends of my career in public service.

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