Addis Ababa February 7/2022 /ENA/ The transport sector in Africa has the potential to create 160 million jobs if the countries in the continent make the sector works well, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The 5th Africa Business Forum under the theme “Invest in multimodal transport infrastructure to optimize the benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area: a focus on air transport and tourism” took place today in Addis Ababa.
In her opening remark, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe said “if we were able to ensure that our transport sector works well, we could create 160 million jobs.”
She added that rail currently transports just 0.3 percent of total intra-Africa freight and with the implementation of AfCFTA increases to 6.8 percent.
Implementing AfCFTA and planned infrastructure projects would result in the need for 2,213,579 trucks, 169,339 rail wagons, 135 vessels, and 243 air crafts, it was indicated.
According to ECA’s latest estimates, intra-African trade in transport services has the potential to increase by nearly 50 percent.
The estimated cost of equipment required by different transport modes to cope with African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is about 411 billion USD, she added.
AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid said “efficient and affordable transports are key to the effective operation and success of African Continental Free Trade Area.”
However, Africa still lags in the area of trade competitiveness, she stated, and added “transport costs in Africa are among the highest in the world and harm our continent’s productivity and competitiveness on local and international trade markets.”
On average transport costs in Africa are 53 percent higher than in developed countries while transport cost represent between 30 and 50 percent of the continents total value of exports compared to an average of about 17 percent of in other developing countries, she elaborated.
According to her, currently 35 African states with a total population of more than 800 million people, accounting 61 percent of Africa’s population and 90 percent of intra-Africa air transport market have joined the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Amani Abou-Zeid noted “air transport liberalization it is projected to result in an additional 600,000 jobs, 4 billion USD additional GDP per annum and additional 4 million tourists across Africa.”
African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement entered into force in 2019.