Thursday, March 29, 2018 /11:20 AM /
The African Development Bank (AfDB) celebrates with Africa and pledges its full support to achieve the success of the recently launched continental free trade area, as part of its strategy to integrate Africa .
To accelerate trade facilitation, the bank has invested more than US$20mn over the past five years in trade agreement support and cross-border transport and energy soft infrastructure.
“The continental free trade area will stimulate intra-African trade by up to US$35bn per year, creating a 52 per cent increase in trade by 2022 and a vital US$10bn decrease in imports from outside Africa,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB.
“Free trade will bring collective benefits and shared wealth for all African nations, especially the landlocked countries. So, we must accelerate investments in regional and national infrastructure, especially, to boost connectivity, reduce costs and raise competitiveness,” Adesina said.
He further noted that regional integration and trade based upon the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital is at the core of the business of the AfDB.
The bank is accelerating the full implementation of the High 5s – its five development priorities, in particular, ‘Integrate Africa.’
“Africa’s food and agriculture market will hit US$1 trillion by 2030. Household consumption will hit US$2.5 trillion, with business-to-business expenditure at US$3.5 trillion by 2025. There’s no doubt, Africa is where to invest,” Adesina stressed.
In the last five years, AfDB’s commitments to infrastructure have totalled more than US$12bn, mostly in cross-border transport, energy, finance and ICT connectivity. AfDB has worked closely with its partners to identify and undertake regional infrastructure projects under the programme for infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA) with a US$10mn grant.
Through the African continental free trade area, many African countries are committing to removing barriers to trade, like tariffs and import quotas, allowing the free flow of goods and services between its members.