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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

How can countries grow intra-Africa trade?

In the midst of rising trade protectionism among advanced western economies, African countries must work to sustain ongoing efforts to achieve structural transformation of African economies and enhance their integration into the global economy. African and global trade experts said this at the just concluded meeting of the African-Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Kigali. They highlighted that the increasing adoption of policies restricting trade among countries poses a threat to African economies. Dr Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of Board of Directors, Afreximbank, said that the continent, however, has all the ingredients required to accelerate African trade. “Political will, market knowledge, conducive environment and right policies combined with adequate financial resources will put the continent on the path to industrial transformation and a quantum leap in intra-African trade,” he said. According to the World Trade Organisation, the stock of trade restrictive measures increased from 424 in 2010 to 2,238 measures in 2016. Between October 2015 and October 2016, 182 new trade-restrictive measures were put in place mostly by advanced economies. G20 countries introduced an average of 19 trade-restrictive measures per month during 2016. Oramah said that these developments, coupled with recent global financial and economic shocks, caused global and African trade to slow significantly in 2015 and 2016. “Africa’s economic activity also slowed with real GDP growth rate falling below 3 per cent for the first time in about two decades. These developments, however, provide lessons that Africa has to find ways to maintain its trade driven growth even as protectionism rises in traditional markets,” he noted.Rwanda’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete suggested that African countries should reflect on the complimentary roles played by governments and private sector in the promotion of trade. “Government policies should facilitate intra-African trade such that the private sector players can unlock the opportunities and potential benefits enshrined in trade agreements. The growing trend of industrial parks and export processing zones is a good examples of cooperation between public and private sectors to develop the continent,” he noted.

Source: Newstime