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UNECA Pleased With AfCFTA As Intra-African Trade Boost By 20%



The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said in one of its reports that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) increased intra-African trade by 20 per cent in 2022. This comes against the commission’s prediction of 52 per cent by 2022. 

AfCFTA: African Continental Free Trade Area

AfCFTA: African Continental Free Trade Area

Speaking on the side-lines of the Ninth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Niamey, Niger, Antonio Pedro, UNECA’s acting executive secretary, said the level of trade had increased. 

“Certainly not yet,” said Mr Pedro when asked if the commission had achieved the objective of 52 per cent intra-African trade. “But the levels of intra-African trade have gone up from 13 per cent or so, before the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was adopted, to now around 20 per cent but that is not good enough because other regions are trading amongst themselves. “I mean, above 70 per cent or so Europe, Asia. So, that certainly is our target.” 

According to the acting executive secretary, he said the rise in intra-African trade was already encouraging certain countries to trade amongst themselves.  

“Under the AfCFTA Trade Division, Kenya, a couple of other countries, Ethiopia and so on and so forth; so now it’s really about scale. It is about making these movements that cover the entire continent. One is to look at the product complementarity between our countries, so we could have African countries trading inputs with another country where, perhaps, you have a much larger processing capacity and one example that I like to cite is between, for example, Gabon and Cameroon,” he explained. 

Mr Pedro said these were some of the efforts which needed to happen, He said the commission was making a trade decision supporting modelling, an exercise to identify the best export destinations for African countries. 

However, he said the distance between African countries was much farther away than between Africa and other continents. 

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