African countries have been urged to strengthen coordination in order to maximise benefits offered by trade partnerships.
Existing trade partnerships and multilateral negotiations include China-Africa trade, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and World Trade Organisation Doha Round negotiations.
This was mentioned in preparatory meetings of African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Trade from Monday 1st and 2nd of November 2010.
Xavier Carim, on behalf of South Africa, as outgoing Chair of the Senior Officials for the African Trade Minister said there is need to consider and reach common positions which are vital for the continent’s current and future trade and developmental prospects.
“We certainly need to come to a common view on how to ensure that the Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations, in which we are all engaged in separate configurations, do not undermine our longer term objectives of regional and continental economic integration,” Carim said.
He shared the view that the benefits obtained under United States of America’s AGOA are extended, broadened and deepened into the future.
In his speech, Carim, said that Africa needs to re-double efforts to diversify economies, integrate markets, promote cross-border infrastructure and coordinate economic policies to promote intra-Africa trade and investment.
“Larger, more integrated markets will lay the basis for sustained economic growth and development for all our people” he said.
Emmanuel Hategeka, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade and Industry, said that Africa’s international statistics reveal that Africa’s share of world trade has dropped to 3 percent from around 6 percent in 25 years ago, and if South Africa’s trade is excluded. the share drops to slightly 1 percent.