May 3, 2012, 1:50 PM
Today, November 20th, is Africa Industrialization Day. The day is intended to mobilize the commitment of the international community to the industrialization of Africa.
This year’s commemoration of Africa Industrialization Day highlights the important role intra-African trade can play in reducing poverty, increasing food and nutrition security and supporting sustainable development.
We were told that African economies are among the fastest growing in the world, yet intra-regional trade accounts only for 10 per cent of the continent’s commerce – significantly less than in other regions.
Trade expansion in Africa is being faced with many obsoletes such as poor infrastructure, numerous check points, fragmented economic space, low production capacities, limited investment financing and high transaction costs.
It is, therefore, important, as a continent, that Africa eliminates these obstacles as a prerequisite to fully realizing Africa’s economic potential, and helping to address the continent’s socioeconomic and developmental challenges.
A vigorous intra-African trade can free the continent from its reliance on international aid, and improve its resilience to macro-economic and other external shocks.
Industrialization can help the expansion of intra-African trade by supporting a more diversified export economy.
In poor African countries like ours, we need to start from somewhere by establishing small industries.
Just like the UN boss said in his message, by working together to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and boost intra-African trade, we can ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for all the continent’s people.