Friday, July 19, 2013
Africa’s trade links with other continents is down-says the report
THE share of the intra-African trade has fallen from 22.4 per cent in 1997 to 11.3 per cent in 2011, the report issued by United Nations on Economic development for Africa 2013 has said. According to the report, even accounting for significant informal cross-border trade that isn’t captured by statistics, that percentage is well below other regions, such as Asia, where the average share of intraregional exports in total exports from 2007 through 2011 was 50 per cent, and Europe, where it was 70 per cent. The report first issued on 11th July this year, was launched yesterday in Dar es Salaam and in colourful ceremony which was attended by academicians, economists, development stakeholders, civil society institutions and two key professional speakers. The two speakers were the Executive Chairman of the IPP companies Dr. Reginald Mengi accompanied by the Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Dr. Felix Mosha both of whom delivered their presentations. The report is quoted as saying that, if Africa does not take serious steps to improve its economies by now, in some years coming an increased demand for goods in the continent will be filled by foreign competitors from Europe and Asia. The report subtitled Intra-African Trade: Unlocking Private Sector Dynamism, says that efforts to date to spur jointly reinforcing economic growth on the continent have relied on a “textbook” and “linear” approach to regional cooperation that does not fit with Africa’s situation. However, the report suggests that African countries should adopt a new approach to regional integration, referred to as “developmental regionalism” which encompasses cooperation among countries in a broader range of areas than just trade.
The report has mentioned trade facilitation, to include – for example – investment, research and development, as well as policies aimed at accelerating regional industrial development and regional infrastructure provision, such as the building of better networks of roads and railways. The report further notes that, African governments are embarked on a major campaign to reduce trade barriers between the continent’s countries, but while doing this, they had better take vigorous measures to boost their private sectors, a new UNCTAD report warns, or the gains from this streamlined trading system will benefit foreign firms more than African firms. Commenting his views about the report on the Tanzanian context, The Executive Chairman of the IPP group, Dr. Reginald Mengi noted in his views presented that, failure to better achievements on trade development and other projects have been exacerbated by continued grand corruption in the country. Dr. Mengi has once again reiterated his call on grand corruption saying that, if the government will not tackle the malpractice, the move will continue to impede trade development links between Tanzania and outside countries. Tanzania needs to effectively control grand corruption which he said is growing highly an aspect that it haunts the minds of trade development stakeholders including small scale entrepreneurs. He said that a nation cannot develop if it’s not engaged in the fight over grand corruption, driving his points for the case of Tanzania he further noted that, the growing phenomenon has become a thorn to the development of trade and other sectors in general. Elaborating more in this, he gave an example of the recently passed national budget of Sh. 18 trillion which he says 80 percent of the money has been allocated top cater for public procurement and out of these between 20 and 30 percent of the money are taken into pockets of few individuals whom he termed as coordinators of the move. However, he noted that, the amount of money stolen about Sh. 3 trillion is equivalent for the budget of three ministries. In addition to these, the malpractice is exacerbated by bad performance reports of some institutions such as Railways, Harbours and Tanesco. “You cannot establish trade links within the environment of corruption and in view of this, Tanzania needs to fight the vice in order to unlock the opportunities”, he said adding that, Tanzania cannot talk of peace if corruption is growing at an alarming rate. He added that, wherever there is no peace trade cannot flourish, this is the biggest enemy and wondered why an institution which stands for Prevention and Combating Corruption in the country is not mentioned in the recently issued a draft of the national constitution review. Earlier, the Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Dr. Felix Mosha presented the findings of the report, before its official inauguration and outlined three major impediments which he said were constraining trade development in Africa continent. Lack of electricity, poor road and railways infrastructures and poor technological innovations, lack of reliable markets are among the major setbacks which lags behind the trade development in Africa.