The book 'Africa in the New Trade Environment; Market Access in Troubled Times' is a collection of articles edited by World Bank renowned economists; Souleymane Coulibaly, Woubet Kassa, and Albert G. Zeufack. The work builds on the expert panel discussions on the future of global trade and its impact on Africa, the theme explored at the World Bank Africa Knowledge Fest on February 22, 2017. The authors make it clear that their goal is ‘to present a strategy to bolster Sub-Saharan Africa’s market access in the current global environment’.
Intra-African Trade & Investments
The creation of a single continental unit is meant to allow the formation of larger economies of scale and enhance the region’s specialization in agricultural and industrial production. However, the reduction or even elimination of tariffs will not be enough to reach the AU’s objective of doubling the existing level of intra-African trade, as significant and continent-specific challenges lie ahead.
Hopefully, a sweltering sun in Africa has not caused AU experts to see mirages of intra-regional finance. Providing for intra-African investments in the current context of the continent is like offering classes on how to make planes to students living in countries that cannot yet make cars: Virtually all the real action takes place elsewhere. Instead of negotiating a chapter on investment, delegates must prioritize a chapter on how AU members can build their capacity to engage in deeper economic relations, especially on how to leverage FDIs in natural resources to develop adequate infrastructure for intra-African investment.