How can Africa benefit more from the opportunities of globalisation? This paper argues that Africa should follow Asia’s successful development model which has lifted many out of poverty. But in order to make this possible several conditions have to be met, most importantly, barriers to intra-African trade need to be successfully removed. This would allow the development of an intra-African market and give the landlocked countries better access to international trade flows. The current initiative to create a Continental Free Trade Area aims at doing exactly that – but are its prospects better than previous attempts of economic unification? This paper offers a clear vision of a trade-led African development model and evaluates the chances of success of the CFTA.