Head of Trade at Standard Bank, Vinod Madhavan, said new technologies that manage information and risk more effectively are quietly enabling the participation of a much broader set of players in global trade. These less visible developments point to the steady emergence of a much more integrated and multilaterally inclined global trading system than current headlines predict.
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Brexit, United States-China, and trade talks between the United States and its traditional European Union allies get a lot of attention, pointing to a potential fragmentation of the post-World War II multilateral order. Other geopolitical shifts, like deeper integration in Africa, evidenced by 44 African countries signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in 2018, and the hosting of the ICC Banking Commission’s centenary in Beijing in April this year, however, paint another narrative.
Despite the headlines, and growing division and unilateralism in the developed West, in the developing world, and especially in Africa, “integration is actually deepening – with China emerging as champion of multilateralism in a new global configuration,” says Mr Madhavan.
Within these new shifts, new opportunities are emerging – especially for Africa.