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Monday, 08 May 2017

NEPAD reprioritizes focus on intra-African trade

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development is hoping to play a dominant role in strengthening ties between African countries that would boost traditionally low levels of intra-African trade by focusing on trade corridors, or transit cross-border road networks. NEPAD, as the agency is more commonly known, plans to achieve its goals by tackling logistical transport concerns such as issues of tariff setting, duties and regulations, and harmonization through their Move Africa initiative, which launched in 2016. NEPAD, the technical body of the African Union, works specifically with regional economic communities in Africa to select projects and programs to support. However, in order to fully realize the objectives of this project NEPAD’s head of regional integration, infrastructure and trade, Symerre Grey-Johnson, told Devex that the development community must reverse the idea that investment in cross-border infrastructure is risky. See more stories from the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban: ► African leadership and priorities debated in opening of WEF Africa ► WTO's Agah on trade's enduring role in an era of retreat ► Should Africa 'hurry up and wait' amid development crisis? ► 5 things to watch at the World Economic Forum on Africa “The issue of the perception of Africa being risky is costing Africa a lot of opportunities,” Grey-Johnson said. “Of course we have our own ideas on how to best create an enabling environment to finance some of these projects, but I think the development community needs to start looking into ways and means of derisking the continent.” Discussions on regional integration in Africa is not new, but the support of regional economic bodies — eight of which are recognized by the African Union — means that leaders on the continent appear more convinced than ever that regional integration is key to development strategies. “In terms of developmental approaches, we cannot be country specific anymore, but instead take a regional dimension,” Grey-Johnson said. “What it means is that the movement of finance, goods and people have to be done in a regional setting.” NEPAD’s focus on regional trade facilitation will primarily target three corridors this year, including the North-South corridor (South Africa to Tanzania), the Central corridor (Tanzania to Burundi) and the Abidjan-Lagos corridor (Nigeria to Ivory Coast).

Source: devex