Recent news about a delegation of Rwandan businesses that have been invited to Ghana to explore business opportunities underlines the growing realisation that Africa needs to do more business with itself.
The move provides the opportunity for Rwandan traders and producers to find new markets for local produce.
While Africa should continue exploring opportunities to do business with the rest of the world, the difficulties associated with overseas trade, as the ongoing negotiations between the East African Community (EAC) bloc and the European Union show, should motivate the continent to maximise business opportunities inside its borders.
But the continent will need to invest in infrastructure including roads, railways and airports to enable individual nations to trade with each other, and also ease restrictions on movement of people and goods and services.
The growing interest in Rwandan commodities among several West African nations such as Gabon and the Republic of Congo, prompted by the ever-increasing RwandAir flights to that part of the continent, is testimony to the benefits that comes with easy access and travel on the continent.
The national carrier now flies to the Ghanaian capital Accra five times a week, and this seems to be the main factor behind the recent move between businesses on either side to develop interest in doing business with each other.
But regardless of how far intra-Africa trade can go with regard to volume and range of merchandise, value addition will remain an important factor as far as unlocking the continent’s full business potential is concerned.
That’s why African political leaders and the captains of industry should continue to work closely to create conditions that allow value addition, innovation and cross-border movement of people and goods.