The United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has reiterated the need to address limited connectivity within Africa to boost intra-African trade.
The body said this at the just-concluded Aid for Trade Global Review at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
ECA Capacity Development Division Director, Mr. Stephen Karingi, emphasised the need to boost intra-African trade, which currently stands at a mere 13 percent of the continent’s total trade.
Karinga canvassed the need for African governments to do more to grow intra-African trade stressing that Africa’s relatively low intra-regional trade is as a result of barriers created by limited connectivity within the continent. He called on leaders in the continent to think of physical connectivity and infrastructure where the gaps remain significant.
He said: “We should consider softer aspects of connectivity. Non-tariff and tariff costs both influence how African countries can link with each other. Boosting intra-African trade is the most effective channel for trade to deliver development on the African continent adding deeper trade integration is the surest way to speed up Africa’s economic transformation. Policies to enhance intra-regional trade on the continent are crucial; strategies to implement, enforce and monitor their progress and impact are also needed”.
He maintained that trade contributes towards industrialisation and structural transformation and regretted that Intra-African trade currently stands at a mere 13 percent of the continent’s total trade, which is very low.
Higher volumes of intra-African trade are essential so African countries can do business with each other more frequently and with wider margins, Karingi added.