Intra-Africa trade and investment key to growth in Africa

Growth is slowing across Africa. The continent which has been widely touted as the next frontier of growth seem to be going off the track of development seen in recent years. However, Africa’s potential for growth remains high; but the continent has to look inwards for growth.

According to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Trade Invest Africa (TIA), Ms Lerato Mataboge, the future for a sustainable growth and development of Africa depends on increasing the levels of intra-Africa trade and investment within the continent.

According to Mataboge, TIA is South African government’s response to address the increase in levels of intra-Africa trade and investment within the African continent. She added that there was much progress made in the Southern African Development Community region in terms of intra-trade and investments. However, she said, more still needed to be done on trade initiatives driven towards the East, Central and Northern African countries to address trade imbalance.

“We need to increase trade efforts with the rest of Africa beyond SADC. This should entail increased South African investments to the rest of Africa as part of the efforts. Part of the take- away from this session is the importance of establishing good working relationships in fellow African countries and understanding the local business etiquette,” said Mataboge.

She also encouraged businesses to embrace the Guidelines for Good Business Practice in doing business in Africa. Mataboge said TIA was working with various institutions to facilitate access to financial and non-financial support for businesses.

The MEC for Economic, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development in Gauteng, Mr Lebogang Maile said that intra-Africa trade stood at 14% of Africa’s total trade at present. That meant that around 86% of Africa’s trade consisted of trade with the rest the world. Maile said this was a call for action for businesses to collaborate and work together to increase intra-Africa trade and investment.

He further said that trade as a driver of Africa’s growth would come mainly from regional trade consequent on increased regional integration and the development of free trade zones, that will enhance consumer demand for large scale infrastructure projects.