African Trade experts have called for increased intra-continental trade to mitigate external impacts like the global financial crisis, an official said.
Hussein Hassan Hussein acting Director of trade and industry in African Union Commission said prior to a three day ordinary session of trade ministers slated for Monday .
Hussein said the solution to mitigate the impact of crisis is the need to mobilize the huge reservoir of domestic resources within Africa.
“Another need for Africa is to increase intra-continental trade. Trade is widely believed to be an engine of economic growth, expansion and development,” Hussein said.
In line to increase intra-continental trade, free trade area and customs union was established while national and regional development strategies have been accorded high priority.
Hussein said that to optimize trade within the continent and the rest of the world is to embark upon the regional integration schemes to take advantages of economies of scale.
“The ultimate goal is the establishment of the African economic community,” Huessein said. In his speech, Hussein noted that Africa remains marginalised in the international trading systems contributing only about 3 percent of the overall global trade.
“It is perhaps even more worrisome that intra-African trade is only 10 percent compared to trade with the rest of the world,” he said.
It is said that only 9 percent of Africa’s imports were sourced from within Africa, with more than 90 percent of imports came from out side the continent.
Xavier Carim, Deputy Director General, Department of Trade and Industry Republic of South Africa urged that Africa need to strengthen the coordination in order to maximise the benefits in terms of infrastructure development and productive investment that establish a balanced, mutually beneficial and sustainable economic relationship.
“As much as these are all vital engagements, there is also the work we must carry forward to advance our own development integration agenda,” Carim said.
Carim noted that the most important is the content of intra-African trade is the trade of higher value added products, thus providing the basis for the economic diversification to which we strive.
“We are all aware of changing economic geography in the world with the rise of economies such as China, India and Brazil that are new sources of global economic growth, trade and investment,” he added.