Africa's cultural, demographic, natural and economic diversity provides a unique framework for inclusive and sustainable economic development. Since the early 2000s, much of the continent has achieved high economic growth rates, albeit mainly driven by strong commodity exports and high public investments. The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a major step in the ambition of African countries to achieve greater continental economic and trade integration. Its implementation will contribute to greater economies of scale, industrialisation and sectoral diversification, thereby boosting the competitiveness of the entire region and creating favourable conditions for African and foreign economic actors to operate.
Africa accounts for on average 2% to 3% of Switzerland's total trade, a significant part of which is attributable to imports of gold. Through its free trade agreements (concluded via the European Free Trade Association) with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia as well as a number of bilateral investment protection agreements and double taxation agreements, Switzerland has a good network of economic agreements with African countries. This network provides favourable bilateral framework conditions for the Swiss and African private sectors to intensify their economic relations.