African countries have been urged to tap on the new Africa trade pact to increase intra-Africa trade beyond the current 13 per cent and cut reliance of overseas imports.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion (Sh397.8 trillion) economic bloc, will boost trade among African neighbours while allowing the continent to develop its own value chains, said the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank).
The managing director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, Kanayo Awani, said in a statement, that the Covid-19 crisis and the Russian Ukraine war fallout which has choked supplies for Kenya and other African countries has demonstrated that Africa is “overly reliant” on global supply chains.
“The AfCFTA which creates a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments, provides an opportunity for Africa…, to take a strategic approach to wean itself of the dependence on external partners for its development ambitions,” said Mrs Awani.
The AfCFTA, the largest trading bloc since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is expected to increase intra-Africa trade beyond the current 13 per cent and improve the prospects of the African continent to attract huge investments.
“The AfCFTA, which seeks to bring together 55 African countries and create an integrated market of 1.3 billion people, with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion, holds enormous potential for Africa’s trade-led development,” said Awani.
“Already the region is facing acute price shocks and supply chain disruptions. This is compounded by concerns of fertilizer shortages which could potentially disrupt agricultural production and place further pressures on food security.”
Supply chain constraints as global economies contend with pent-up demand have also raised shipping costs, fuelling higher inflation.
“With 60 percent of the world’s arable land, the fastest growing population and an integrated market under the AfCFTA the opportunity exists for Africa to take the necessary steps to ensure food security through greater intra-African trade and reduce reliance on imports from outside the continent,” said Awani.
Source: Daily Nation