Committee to discuss improvements to Africa’s productive integration, free trade area

map of africa-positivewww

map of africa-positivewww

DESPITE the growth and relatively good performance during the past decade, African economies lack industrialisation and integration. Academic evidence from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union Commission (AUC) shows this recent growth has had no impact on the underlying structural design of these economies and to diversify its economies, the continent must reverse its dependence on merchandise exports dominated by raw and unprocessed commodities.

In a statement on Tuesday by the ECA, the ninth session of the body’s Committee on Regional Cooperation and Integration (CRCI) will, therefore, convene in Addis Ababa from December 7 to 9, 2015, to discuss means of promoting and accelerating productive integration through trade and market integration, economic diversification, competitiveness, infrastructure, regional and continental value chains development, and the financing and investments needed to meet implement these policies.

Studies, including the recent ECA Economic Report on Africa (ERA), suggest that to improve intra-African trade, the continent must address its overall weak productive capacities and lack of competitiveness and technological sophistication. The studies cite infrastructure as one of the key impediments to productive integration in Africa. An insufficient infrastructure has adverse effects on supply and value chain linkages, not only in the agriculture sector on which the majority of Africans depend, but also in manufacturing and other sectors of the economy. It also affects growth, the creation of jobs and eventual elimination of widespread poverty.

With infrastructure in place, intra-African trade and regional value chains can effectively facilitate Africa’s industrialization and eventual entry into global value chains, the report suggests.

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