15% intra-African AfCFTA trade abysmal’

AFRICA’s share of global trade remains abysmal with intra-African trade standing at 15 per cent, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said on Wednesday in Lagos.

Its Senior Expert of Customs, Willie Shumba, in his presentation at the second edition of the “AfCFTA Dialogue Series,” regretted that African countries were not trading among themselves; that Africa’s fundamental role in global trade has been to provide raw commodities in exchange for manufactured goods.

“Intra-Africa trade is just 15 per cent of its total trade, compared with 19 per cent in Latin America, 51 per cent in Asia, 54 per cent in North America and 70 per cent in Europe,” he said.

According to Shumba, the low level of intra-African trade can change if the continent effectively addresses the supply side constraints, weak productive capacities, and infrastructural bottlenecks.

He listed other issues that must be addressed to include trade information networks, access to finance for traders and other economic operators, trade facilitation and trade in services and free movement of people etc.

Shumba pointed out that to overcome dependence on exportation of primary products and promote social and economic transformation for inclusive growth, industrialization and sustainable development in line with “Agenda 2063”, AfCFTA has to be explored.

He stressed that AfCFTA’s implementation was necessary to realise the potential to expand and accelerate the growing diversification and dynamism of intra-African trade including the aim to increase trade among African countries by 50 per cent by 2022.