AfDB Supporting to Accelerate AfCFTA Implementation, Boost Intra-Africa Trade


Addis Ababa February 22/2023/ENA/ The African Development Bank (AfDB) is supporting to accelerate implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and boosting intra-Africa trade, African Development Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, President Adesian said AfCFTA will link together economies worth about 3.4 trillion USD and is the largest free trade zone in the world in terms of number of countries that are participating.

“As you know, intra-regional trade in Africa is very small. It’s only 15 to 18 percent. If you compare that to Europe, you have about 69% intra-regional trade. You look at the whole issue of Latin America, maybe about 59%, Asia about 41%. So we need to actually boost intra-regional trade and the more you boost intra-regional trade the more you reduce your vulnerability and vulnerability to global shocks. That happens, geopolitical tensions that affect global supply chains and things like that so it is very important,” he elaborated.

As African Development Bank, integrating African is one of our high five priorities, Adesina stated, and added “we have been doing this for a long time; even before the Africa continental free trade area with established.”

He said the bank has been providing supports to help the implementation of the Africa continental Free Trade Area and strengthen infrastructure in the region.

“We have invested in the last seven years alone, well over 44 billion USD in infrastructure in ports, in railways, in airports, digital infrastructure, in making sure that you have means that people can actually move in mobility for trade and services. So we’ve been doing that quite a lot. For the Africa continental Free Trade Area Secretariat itself, the African Development Bank provided 5 million USD for the establishment of that Secretary that is based in Accra, so we've been pleased with that. We just provided them recently just another grant last year, December about 11 million USD to help them to continue to build their capacity to implement the agreement on the Africa continental free trade area,” he added.

Furthermore, AfDB has been supporting Africa Visa Index to ensure free mobility of people to encourage trade and improvements have been observed.

UNECA Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro said on his part that countries need to identify potential sectors to benefit from intra-Africa trade.

He added that it is critical to develop robust national AfCFTA strategy in order to make sure it serves everyone, be it big and small, rich and poor that everyone benefits from it.

“So one of the steps is first to identify what are those growth drivers in our countries through diagnostic studies and on that basis to have define which particular sectors would require certain protections ,,,,and then organize your industrial policy in the diversification strategies accordingly so that we can add value on those areas. Then we move from exporting raw materials to intra-African goods which have value. That is very important part and we are happy and proud that we have contributed to the formulation of at least 28 of those national AfCFTA strategies,” Acting Executive Secretary Pedro emphasized.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises broader and deeper economic integration and would attract investment, boost trade, provide better jobs, and increase shared prosperity in Africa.

Ethiopian News Agency