Summit Urges Africa to Increase Intra-African Trade to 50% By 2030

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

The Africa Economic Summit Group has urged African leaders to boost Intra-African trade to bolster trade among African nations from the current 14 per cent to 50 per cent.

President of the Africa Economic Summit Group, Dr. Sam Ohuabunwa, stated this during a press conference in Abuja where the group intimated journalists of their resolutions to improve Intra-African trade and improve the continent’s economy.

Ohuabunwa said Africa currently has the lowest inter-regional trade in the world hence the need for African governments to pursue the goal of “One Africa, One Economy”.

He said: “This is the only opportunity Africa has to leverage strength and become truly competitive. We call on all African leaders to preach the concept of one Africa! one family! one economy.”

He stressed that to promote intra-African trade, focus should be on the acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation to stimulate economic growth.

“All impediments to full adoption and implementation must be dismantled deliberately. The target is to reach a minimum of 50% of intra African trade by the year 2030 from the present 14%.

“African countries should explore innovative funding: Mobilise domestic and foreign investments for critical projects, minimise borrowing, prioritise projects and use internally generated resources and start winding down from aids and replace with trade, as well as provide incentives for diaspora bonds and investments,” he said.

The group advocated massive investment in human capital development, prioritise education and healthcare for a skilled workforce and produce fit-for-purpose manpower to serve Africa and provide external services. 

It also called for the adoption of entrepreneurial education models to expand opportunities for wealth creation and reduction of unemployment.

Calling African countries to strengthen governance by building strong leadership systems to raise Africa’s leadership stock, the group stated that African governments should be held more accountable through citizen activism. 

It equally noted that technology and open government systems should be used to promote transparency and combat corruption. 

Ohuabunwa advised African governments to create a conducive business environment, simplify regulations, minimise bureaucracy, and promote entrepreneurship. 

He canvassed that gender equity and inclusiveness in African political leadership, with focus on the younger generation, should be deliberately promoted.

In addition, he said: “The executive, legislative and judiciary arms of governments must have a common vision in achieving good governance.” 

According to Ohuabunwa, investment attraction should be the focus of African economic policies — both local and foreign investors — noting that investments create businesses, programmes and projects while programmes, projects and businesses create jobs.

On the other hand, jobs create wealth and wealth drives away poverty, just as poverty reduction must be a major key performance indicators (KPIs) for national political leaders.

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