Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 Meet-up launches publication to boost intra-African trade

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Reports on Friday, 14th of July, from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has it that the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have launched a co-publication on promoting connectivity in Africa, focusing on the role of Aid for Trade (AfT) in boosting intra-African trade as well as the importance of increasing the capacity of developing countries.

The Publication, according to reports, was launched at the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 whose theme is “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development.” Report confirmed the title of the regional report as “Promoting connectivity in Africa: The role of Aid for Trade in boosting intra-African trade.” The report also emphasizes that intra-regional trade that is more diversified and industrial in nature creates opportunities for value addition and the development of regional value chains, leading to the creation of decent jobs and improved livelihoods.

For this reason, it is noted that intra-African trade has been placed at the centre of continental developmental frameworks, such as Agenda 2063.

In addition, the release revealed that the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which is currently under negotiation, is expected to be an important milestone in enhancing trade on the continent. For the agreement to deliver on its developmental potential, it will need to address connectivity challenges on the continent in a comprehensive way.

The report disclosed that Aid for Trade can act as a powerful tool to boost intra-African trade and subsequently, meet the CFTA objectives.

According to statistics, as reported in the release, in the year 2015, Aid for Trade disbursements to African countries reached a record high US$14.1 billion, representing some 34 per cent of global disbursements. Within Africa, however, the largest share of Aid for Trade goes to East Africa, in particular Kenya and Tanzania.

Report hightlighted, according to the words of Capacity Development Division (CDD) Director, Stephen Karingi, that “intra-African trade is a key instrument for achieving the much-needed structural transformation of the continent.”

The panel discussion on the publication and its findings featured Mr. Karingi, Jean Lucien Bussa Tongba, Minister of External Trade of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pierre Guislain, Vice-President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization at the African Development Bank (AfDB), Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission, Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Chairman of the African Export Import Bank, Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director, Vodafone, and Christopher Thornley, Canada’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, was also convened at the launch.

Speaking at the Launch, Mr. Karingi acknowledged that the current flows of Aid for Trade and priorities indicated in the responses from Africa suggest that there is good alignment of Aid for Trade to Africa’s trade agenda as presented in the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT).

“To ensure that this alignment is maintained and improved upon by increasing focus on intra-African trade, the various continental programmes and frameworks, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa(PIDA) should be used.” He added that said more needs to be done to support the development of productive capacity in industry in Africa.