Post-colonial Africa views economic integration as an endogenous means for attaining self-reliant, sustainable development. Working under various regional and sub-regional economic institutions, states elaborated several norms in search of legitimacy in economic competence. However, several political and economic pathogens, including weak institutions, have blighted those efforts. This paper interrogates the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA or CFTA), which is the latest attempt to reboot the integration drive and achieve sustainable development. The CFTA seeks to create a geographic zone where goods and services will move freely among member states by removing trade distortions and boosting factor mobility, competition, and investment. After a rigorous analysis of the relevant normative instruments and examining the vertical and horizontal relationship between the CFTA and regional economic communities (RECs)/member states, the paper articulates some objective criteria for measuring the CFTA’s effectiveness. It concludes that, if faithfully implemented, the CFTA could maximize utility and increase welfare. For the analysis and conclusions, the paper deploys principles of public international law as well as economic theories, with a blend of political and moral philosophy.

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