KIGALI - Trade and investments are the engines of economic growth, expansion and development that have a potential to alleviate poverty and help countries realise the Millennium Development Goals.
This was highlighted by the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza while presiding over the opening of the two-day African Trade Ministers meeting in Kigali yesterday.
The two-day meeting attracted African policy makers to discuss how intra-African trade can be promoted through enhanced regional integration, harmonise African position on various trade issues especially on how the World Trade Organisation Doha round negotiations and Economic Partnerships for Agreements negotiations can be development oriented and successfully concluded.
Makuza hailed the encouraging move to see African countries put more efforts in mainstreaming their trade into national and regional development strategies and strengthening continental integration through formation of Free Trade Areas and Customs Unions by Regional Economic Communities.
“In so doing they are boosting the ongoing integration process towards an African Common Market and eventually one African Economic Community,” he said.
He suggested that a concerted effort is needed to jointly develop common transport and communications networks, energy sources, distribution grids, and information technology hubs – if we are to seriously accelerate progress in our trade and investment.
The need for infrastructural development in Africa will addressing supply-side and other production constraints, mainstream technology in production and manufacturing processes and boosting employment.
“All of which should ultimately aim at poverty reduction through fairly-distributed income growth and the meeting should, therefore, identify some of these required policies and initiatives,” Makuza added.
In his speech, Prime Minister said that the meeting should clearly call on all trade partners to seriously re-engage in the negotiations; while bearing in mind Africa’s aspirations for regional integration and development.
He warned that “Aid for Trade” is not intended to replace needed reforms of the international trade system currently being negotiated through the Doha Round of World Trade Organisation talks.