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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Africa needs tougher laws to allow EU companies into its services sector

With African countries’ trade remaining inordinately dependent on natural resources exports, their economies could benefit from liberalisation of trade in services but only as long as proper domestic regulatory frameworks are put in place, some trade experts argue. Natural resources like minerals, fish, timber and fuels constitute a staggering 73 percent of Africa’s exports, compared to 14 percent of the European Union’s (EU) exports.  Only five percent of exports are traded within Africa, with the balance destined for the industrial centres of China, India, the European Union (EU) and the US. The continent’s dependency on these markets became apparent when demand plummeted in the wake of the financial crisis, putting an end to the 2003-2008 commodities boom, said Sean Woolfrey, researcher at the Trade Law Centre of Southern Africa (Tralac), at Tralac’s annual meeting on Sep 16-17 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Demand falls

The non-profit Tralac provides capacity-building support to governments and other entities.
Angola’s oil fields, Zambia’s copper belt and Botswana’s diamond mines, among others, have created dangerously one-sided development paths, trade experts noted at the conference.
“Significant policy space is available

Source: Businessdailyafrica