Nov 19, 2009, 3:00 PM
“Boosting intra African trade: a key to agricultural transformation and ensuring food and nutrition security,’’ is the theme of a two day African Union Commission joint ministerial conference for agriculture and trade scheduled for 29th and 30th November 2012.
The conference will, among others, review progress on implementation of continental agriculture and trade development initiatives, and revisit efforts from the two sectors that impact on intra-African trade, agricultural transformation and achievement of food security in the continent.
The topic of discussion is quite relevant, and timely. Despite the international economic crisis, analysts have hailed the rapid economic growth registered in Africa.
Nonetheless, if the theme of the conference is to be achieved, there is a need to reduce barriers to trade between and among African nations, and to ensure a free flow of goods and services.
It is a fact that African countries do not trade enough among themselves.
African countries must, therefore, boost intra-regional trade, so as to help accelerate economic growth and development.
We believe that when fully implemented, intra-African exchange would help reduce poverty in Africa.
We, therefore, hope that at the end of the conference taking place in Addis Ababa, participants after brainstorming on all the challenges hindering trade will come away with meaningful ways to boost intra-African trade.
These challenges include the conflicts and wars in the continent.
Indeed, there is no doubt that the peaceful settlement of disputes would also ensure rapid growth and sustainable development in Africa.
“Trade knows neither friends nor kindred”