Africa must build the capacity to diversify and shift the structure of its production and exports if it is to achieve sustainable economic growth, according to Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson of African Union Commission.
He said, yesterday, during the 6th ordinary session of African Union Trade Ministers Conference, in Kigali, that Africa’s economic growth was being hampered by lack of export diversification, high transport costs, lack of productive capacities as well as absence of market information systems.
“It is thus clear that many opportunities are lost for the continent to self-generate its own development and integration,” Mwencha said.
The official added that the lesson to be drawn from Africa’s experience in the global economic crisis is the need to deepen the continent’s market integration, and means of achieving economic empowerment vis-a-vis the rest of the world and better participation in the global economy.
Prime Minister Benard Makuza, who opened the meeting, said that production and export structures are still geared to primary commodities, with its demand being oriented towards non-continental markets instead of regional markets.
“It is in this regard, that we need to intensify our efforts towards community-building in order to accelerate the development of an attractive single market and production base that will help attract foreign trade and investment,” Makuza said.
Mwencha hailed the dynamic and rapid development of Rwanda. He said: “The development experience of Rwanda over the last decade illustrates the positive wind of change blowing across Africa, whose momentum needs to be sustained for our continent to claim its rightful position in the global community,” The conference, which ends today, attracted 245 delegates from across the world.