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The launch of a free trade agreement by three African economic blocs in Egypt this week will be an important step toward a potentially game-changing common market spanning the continent, supporters say.The deal between the East African Community, Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa will create a market of 26 countries with a population of 625 million and gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion.The move was welcomed by business leaders at the World Economic Summit for Africa in Cape Town last week, with participants highlighting the fact that just 12 percent of African countries' total trade is with each other – compared to some 55 percent in Asia and 70 percent in Europe.Despite the challenges, Africa's overall economy is expected to expand by 4.5 percent this year, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the African Development Bank and the UNDP.
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