NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM
THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
urged to negotiate with
European Union as a united bloc
and not aid will reduce African poverty'
The United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa (UNECA) has urged Africa to negotiate trade
agreements with the European Union (EU) as a single bloc.
UNECA Regional Integration and Trade Director
Stephen Karingi told Xinhua late on Thursday that negotiating as
separate entities will have a negative impact on regional
"If Africa wants to deepen intra-Africa trade
then it has to agree on one single template that will be used for
agreements with international partners," Karingi said on the
sidelines of the 20th African Union Conference of African Ministers
of Industry in Nairobi.
The five-day event’s goal is will discuss ways of
accelerating industrialization in the continent. Karingi added that
only appropriate trade agreements will permit the continent to
increase it’s of exports of value added products.
Karingi added that joint negotiations will allow the
continent to agree on a list of goods and services that will be
exempted from liberalized trade.
According to UNECA, trade with the EU and the U.S.
has remained stagnant in the past decade.
"However, trade with emerging nations such as
China, India and Brazil has been on the rise," he said.
He noted that key challenges to intra-Africa trade
include lack of infrastructure interconnecting the continent.
Karingi said that Africa is a fast growing region but is yet to
reach its full potential.
"You need at least seven per cent economic
growth in order to have a dent on poverty levels," he said.
"For example, 99 percent of Kenya’s tea is
exported in bulk form compared to Sri lanka where the figure is only
50 percent," he said.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
Assistant Secretary General Dr Kipyego Cheluget said that lack of
value addition is causing the continent to lose a lot of revenue. He
said that region could reduce the level of employment through
Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Executive Director Kebour Ghenna said that African governments
should take the lead in designing policies that support local
"We should follow the lead of the developed
nations which offer incubations and other services to their local
industries," Ghenna said. He added industrialization is one way
of achieving high incomes.
EU Ambassador to the African Union Gary Quince said
that East, Southern Africa and West Africa are still in the process
of negotiating trade partnership with the EU.
"I am optimistic that an agreement will be
arrived at before October 2014," the envoy said.
Quince noted that despite the Euro zone crisis, EU
remains the biggest investor and development partner of Africa.
He noted that investments and not aid will reduce
"We will therefore ensure that our engagements
with Africa include a blend of grants and loans to the critical
infrastructure areas," he said.
The envoy noted that the EU will continue to support
regional integration efforts in Africa as 50 percent of intra Africa
trade consists of manufactured goods.
AU Commissioner of Trade and Industry Fatima Acyl
said that export diversification is still weak in Africa.
"There is a tendency to specialize on certain
products and this could make the continent very vulnerable to price
shocks," she said.
"However, there are a few success stories in
Africa that the rest of continent can learn from," the
The AU official called on Africa to come up with
products that are globally competitive.
South Africa Minister of Trade Rob Davis said that
Africa’s international trade comprises of exports of raw materials
and imports of finished goods.
He added that this is despite the fact the over 60
percent of world trade relies on intermediate goods.
"Given that global value chains are very
difficult to penetrate, the continent should therefore rely regional
economic blocs in order to expand manufacturing output," Davis
The trade minister noted that Africa’s free trade
areas will only benefit the continent if there is sufficient
infrastructure to link the continent.
"Otherwise, the big industrialized nations will
reap the benefits of the free cross border trade," he said.
you read it first at coastweek.com