Article Image
News Link • Africa: On the Map

Without Strong Property Rights, Free Trade Won't Help South Africa

• https://fee.org

The eagerness of the African National Congress to pursue a policy of land expropriation threatens to undermine the benefits of a continent-wide free trade area.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is getting more vocal about his support for the new African Continental Free Trade Area.

At the beginning of September, during the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, Ramaphosa even described the free trade area as possibly "the greatest opportunity for economies on the [African] continent to generate growth through trade."

In a similar tone, last month at the G7 summit in France, Ramaphosa proudly exclaimed to an audience of world leaders that he is "confident this free trade agreement will unleash Africa's [and presumably South Africa's] economic potential."

Undermining Private Property

While it's great that Ramaphosa is showing such avid support for a continent-wide free trade area, there is potential that South Africa might very well get nothing out of the free trade area. If the government pushes this amendment forward, the nation will reap little to no benefit from the forthcoming free trade area.

This is because up to this point, the South African government has been on a crusade to amend Section 25 of its constitution, which would allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

If the government pushes this amendment forward, then, contrary to Ramaphosa's hopes, the nation will reap little to no benefit from the forthcoming free trade area.

That's a shame because there's a lot of good that would come from the trade area.


Free Talk Live