A number of studies have tried to gauge who would gain what if the African countries involved in the TFTA all dropped their tariffs.
Although it is a very unlikely scenario, such a total switch to free trade would likely benefit South Africa and a few other larger African economies above all else – and actually hurt many smaller countries.
The Trade Law Centre recently published a study on the hypothetical impact of halving the burden of nontariff barriers, compared with reducing all tariffs to zero on the entire continent.
Zero tariffs result in a very uneven benefit, where mostly South Africa wins, with Nigeria a distant second. Zimbabwe, in particular, loses significantly because of its reliance on tariff revenue.
The hypothetical halving of non-tariff barriers, however, leads to a much larger welfare gain for the continent that is also better spread out. South Africa still wins, but so do the other major economies, including Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and Tanzania.