UNECA chief urges strong intra-Africa trade to withstand external shocks

ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) – Antonio Pedro, acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has stressed the need to deepen intra-Africa trade to counter external shocks.

“An Africa that trades increasingly with itself in a diverse range of products is a credible option for building a resilient Africa that can withstand external shocks,” Pedro said on Wednesday.

The UNECA chief made the remarks during a meeting of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, held as part of the high-level industrialization-themed continental assembly, the AU Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, and the AU Extraordinary Session on Went. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is scheduled for November 20-25 in the Nigerian capital of Niamey.

Pedro said the African continent has suffered more than other regions due to its excessive reliance on imports in large part from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.

“However, on both occasions, we have managed to find innovative solutions to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis,” Pedro said, underlining the need to strengthen intra-Africa trade.

He further stressed that Africa’s sustainable economic transformation requires rapid and sustained industrialisation.

Pedro said, “It is high time that we learn lessons swiftly, seize the opportunities inherent in these crises by diversifying our economic base, increasing our research and development capacity, and investing in industrialization.”

Pedro argued that the Continental Free Trade Agreement is an important tool to support Africa’s transition towards stronger intra-African trade and industrialization.

He added that the AfCFTA provides the continent for faster and more effective industrialization by ushering in the necessary conditions for transformational investment, diversification and sustainable growth in Africa.

Pedro said, “Industrialization is not an option for our continent; it is in fact an imperative. Simply put, by adding value to Africa’s natural and mineral resources here on the continent, we are taking advantage of the ever-sustaining boon of our resources. can change.” ,

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