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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Africa searches for new trading partners to boost development

Africa needs to foster partners in the developed world to further boost its international trade and economic growth. This is the consensus at the recent maiden forum on “Belarus-Africa: New Frontiers’’ held in Belarus. The forum, organised by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Belarusian Government brought together government officials and businesses in Belarus and Africa to explore more opportunities on trade relations. Dr Bernard Oramah, the President of Afreximbank, who set the tone of discussion at the forum, said that though the total African trade grew one trillion dollars in 2016, Africa had the potential to grow the trade volume exponentially in the next few years. He said that economic prosperity of the continent was, in the main, being stifled by poor infrastructure, stressing that Africa needed 93 billion dollars annually in the next 10 years to bridge the infrastructure deficit. “Africa needs equipment to build roads, bridges, hospitals, ports, power stations, et cetera,’’ he said. Oramah said that the potential of the continent was derivable from its vast resources in land, agriculture, population, water and minerals. “The size of the African economy at 2.5 trillion dollars ranks as the number 10 in the world and strong, averaging 4.2 per cent in the past 10 years. “The population, at about 1.2 billion, is the third largest in the world. “In addition, the continent boasts the youngest and most vibrant peoples with 40 per cent expected to be below the age of 30 by 2030. “Africa faces deficits in production of major food crops from grains, meat, and tubers to fruits and vegetables, yet it boasts of 60 per cent of the world’s useable arable land. “Some of you may not be aware that Africa is a very large continent, about three times the size of the U.S. and three times the size or Europe. “The continent is awash with abundant ground and surface water with seven large rivers. “The continent is also rich with imaginable metals and minerals,’’ he said. Oramah said that to realise these abundant resources, there was the need for African countries to seek partners in the bid to transform these resources to wealth.

Source: Daily Trust