22 April 2016
Trade is an important aspect of every country’s development, and many African countries have expressed the willingness to engage in Trade relations with developed Western nations. However, the region seems reluctant to employ one of the biggest and probably most effective means of growth via intra-regional trade.
Statistics reveal that less than 20% of African countries engage in trade relations with each other, far below the average in other regions such as Asia, North America and Europe. Africa wants to trade to develop, but to do so; Africa needs to begin to trade with itself. Economist and founder of the Hoja Law Group, Jacqueline Musiitwa posits that rather than African countries seeking trade relations with developed countries in other parts of the world, it needs to begin to trade with itself.
However, as much as trade within Africa might be a surefire means to boost the economy, it will be difficult to achieve at present because the basic structures needed to assist are lacking in most African countries; Structures such as power, infrastructure and connectivity to the internet. The power situation is direr as most of Africa still lacks adequate power supply for most of its citizens. In Nigeria for example, more than half of the population is without power and in recent times, the power situation has become much worse.
Infrastructure, such as roads, transportation and industries is lacking in number and effectiveness all over the region. Although in the area of transport, the continent is still taking impressive strides to remedy the situation as the article cites the Standard Gauge Railway that will connect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan as an example. And the ECOWAS is also discussing a Dakar-Abidjan and Lagos-Abidjan highway as part of a larger Trans African Highway Network.
But in the area of internet access and connectivity, Africa is lagging behind. The article revealed that while global internet penetration rates was at 50%, rates in Africa was at 28.6%, a low figure especially considering the size and number of the people in the continent. The article concludes with the charge for Africa to tap into its one untapped resource, which is itself and mentions technology as a key method for achieving growth and development via intra-regional trade.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.