The Senior Expert of Customs, African Continental Free Trade Area, Willie Shumba, has decried the 15 per cent intra-Africa trade standing, compared to global trade ranking, stressing that AfCFTA has to be explored.
Shumba, in his presentation at the second edition of the “AfCFTA Dialogue Series,” regretted that African countries were not trading among themselves; and Africa’s fundamental role in global trade had been to provide raw commodities in exchange for manufactured goods.
“Intra-Africa trade is just 15 per cent of its total trade, compared with 19 per cent in Latin America, 51 per cent in Asia, 54 per cent in North America and 70 per cent in Europe,” he said.
According to Shumba, the low level of intra-African trade can change if the continent effectively addresses the supply-side constraints, weak productive capacities, and infrastructural bottlenecks.
He listed other issues that must be addressed to include trade information networks, access to finance for traders and other economic operators, trade facilitation and trade in services and free movement of people, etc.
Shumba pointed out that to overcome dependence on the exportation of primary products and promote social and economic transformation for inclusive growth, industrialisation and sustainable development in line with Agenda 2063, “AfCFTA has to be explored.”
He stressed that AfCFTA’s implementation was necessary to realise the potential to expand and accelerate the growing diversification and dynamism of intra-African trade including the aim to increase trade among African countries by 50 per cent by 2022.