Jun 13, 2011
Africa should align policies to take advantage of trade opportunitiesBack
© Reuse this
Speaking to Engineering News Online in an exclusive interview, Ezekwesili said that emerging market trade represented trillions of dollars in opportunity, but warned that Africa could not afford to walk into such a relationship in an adhoc, or perfunctory manner.
She emphasised that the continent needed to strategically align policies, institutions and investment allocation to ensure greater growth through the diversification of economic sectors, while ultimately creating sustainable job opportunities and reducing poverty.
The World Bank’s latest strategy for the region focuses on the structural diversification of African economies, with an emphasis on developing the necessary skills to drive diversification and growth of different sectors and putting the infrastructure in place to support growth from new sources, outside, and in addition to, the mineral resources and extractive markets.
About $8-billion a year, or 50% to 55% of the bank’s African portfolio is allocated to investment in infrastructure development in the region.
Ezekwesili said that in many African countries natural resources still constitute up to 80% of their fiscal revenue, exposing them to volatility and the often lacking management of this sector.
She noted that there was a case to be made for the effective management of the minerals and extractive sector. “Beneficiation of minerals is important, but there are also other opportunities that need to be looked at such as effectively linking the minerals and extractive sector to other economic activity.
“Further, a lot of ancillary activities related to the mining and petroleum industries in Africa are being done offshore. Governments need to start putting the necessary policies in place to see these activities start being domesticated.”
Ezekwesili said that African governments needed knowledge-driven policies to reap the benefits from the continent’s abundant resources, which would also assist the private sector to take advantage of opportunities provided by the correct policy framework.
“The global demand for natural resources and the search for new markets are driving trade between emerging economies. Africa needs to grab hold of these opportunities, backed by sound macro and micro economic policies that would support the complimentary existence of the continent’s extractive sectors, but also other sectors that hold the potential for the participation of all African citizens in different economic activities such as agriculture, services and telecommunications,” added Ezekwesili.
Africa’s biggest free trade bloc was launched at the weekend, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between 26 countries. The Southern African Development Community, East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa will now work as a joint bloc, creating a $875-billion market.
The free trade area would seek to accelerate regional integration efforts to ensure that countries in Africa trade with each other on better terms.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Trade News
Updated 2 hours 15 minutes ago In her first Budget Vote speech as Deputy Minister of the newly created Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), Elizabeth Thabethe has assured Parliament that the department will “aggressively” explore opportunities for small, medium-sized and...
Updated 3 hours ago Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has assured that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would be “playing its part” in ensuring that government procured 75% of its goods and services from local companies, announcing on Tuesday the next designation...
Updated 1 hour 10 minutes ago In her budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has reported progress in the institutionalisation of the relationship between the Department of Defence (DoD) and the local defence industry....
Updated 1 hour 40 minutes ago Acknowledging that the newly formed Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) remained in the “process of configuration”, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu assured Parliament on Tuesday that the department remained conscious of the need to...
Updated 2 hours 15 minutes ago Combined Motor Holdings (CMH), the JSE-listed importer and distributor of MG and Maxus vehicles, has announced a number of structural changes for the brands in Africa. MG and Maxus are sold locally through Mandarin Motors.
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international...
Although CEO Mark McChlery and chief marketing officer Bob Skinstad likened themselves to children in a playground when taking on the task of “reengineering and repositioning” the Seartec brand, the “young, dynamic and enthusiastic guys” were like proud...
An increasing number of buyers, in both the new and used car markets, are opting for finance structures that lower their monthly repayments, says asset financing company WesBank. These include the use of large balloon payments (also known as residuals), as well as...
Tertiary education institutions can use search engine giant Google’s Chromebook to provide secure mobile end-point devices for students on which they can share documents, work collaboratively on documents and access education materials and applications being used...
Local ceiling and partition company Abbeycon has beaten global competition at the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy competition, which was held last month in Berlin, Germany.