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Boosting intra-African trade

Jan 30, 2012, 1:17 PM

The theme of the 18th AU Summit is focusing on “boosting intra-African trade”. 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 summit 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.
The World Bank has said that Africa could double intra-regional trade by easing non-tariff barriers, including customs procedures and improving the continent’s poor transport infrastructure; that doing this is will help boost economic growth.

We firmly believe that the idea should be to encouraged; that is, free trade within the continent, which means the free flow of goods, services and persons.

Holding up goods and services, as well as persons, and wasting the time of businesspeople on business trips within the continent, as they struggle to move across borders is completely unnecessary.

We, therefore, hope at the end of their two-day summit meeting in Addis Ababa, African leaders 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.