Arab-African Trade Exchange Sees Remarkable Growth

Monday, 28 August, 2017 - 05:00
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Trade exchange between Africa and the Arab world has grown significantly over the past decade, a UN report said, adding that the volume is expected to increase in the coming period.

Abdalla Hamdok, Economic Commission for Africa’ deputy executive secretary and one of the commission’s senior economists said in a statement that Africa's exports to the Arab world reached 6.5 percent of its total exports, and Arab exports to Africa stood at 5.3 percent, noting that the analysis of exchanges between the two regions shows that they aim more at diversity.

Celebrating the 100th Session of the Economic and Social Council of the League of Arab States in Cairo, Hamdok explained that boosting trade exchange between Africa and the Arab world would significantly promote the two regions’ position in world trade.

He added that the extensive regional integration between Africa and the Arab world beyond the major regional trade agreements in the two regions, including the Free Trade Area of ​​the continent and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, promises good results regarding the support of their countries' efforts aiming diversification, and could also contribute to boosting Africa’s position in the global trade landscape.

The ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary pointed out that regional and trade integration do not solely provide solutions to current economic challenges, but they offer opportunities and chances to open prospects for progress, industrialization, and better integration into regional and international markets. They will also unleash the potential of African and Arab countries, diversify their economies and provide decent economic opportunities for men and women to achieve a better life, build more inclusive societies, and be more resilient to difficulties, he added.

Responding to the need to diversify their economies due to drop in the prices of basic commodities, Africa has become the engine of global growth. According to a study conducted by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the successful establishment of the continental Free Trade Area would lead to a 22 percent increase in intra-African trade and add about $1 trillion to the global economy.

The Arab-African Forum will be held in Jordan end of September, following the conclusion of the 100th session of the Arab League (AL) Economic and Social Council, which tracked the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Fourth Pan-Arab Summit held in Equatorial Guinea in November, as well as the implementation of the partnership strategy, the workplan, and the financing of Arab and African projects.

On the sidelines of the coordination meeting held between the General Secretariat of the Arab League (Economic Affairs Sector) and the AU Commission, Ambassador Kamal Hassan Ali, Arab League Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs, revealed that an inclusive vision would be agreed upon with the participation of Arab and African finance institutions to fund feasibility studies of project, and how to fund the projects adopted in the joint workplan.

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