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Economic Development in Africa Report 2013

Inter-African Trade - Unlocking Private Sector Dynamism

image of Economic Development in Africa Report 2013
This report argues that for African countries to reap developmental gains from intra-African trade and regional integration, they need to place the building of productive capacities and domestic entrepreneurship at the heart of the policy agenda for boosting intra-regional trade. It also analyzes the range of strategies and complementary policies that will be needed, besides trade policies, to ensure that regional integration enhances African enterprise development and economic development in general. It explores, among others, the role of national and regional industrial policy and the scope for developing regional development corridors. Lessons are drawn from other developmental regional experiences.

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The state of Intra-African trade and investment

An understanding of the scale, trends and composition of intra-African trade is crucial for the effective design and implementation of policies to boost that trade. This chapter provides an overview of the scale, trends and composition of intra- African trade for the period from 1996 to 2011. Due to data limitations on services and capital, the analysis focuses mainly on trade in goods. In addition, emphasis is laid on developments within the eight regional economic communities considered by the African Union as the building blocks of the future African Economic Community (AEC) as laid out in the Abuja Treaty. Table 1 shows the affiliation of each African country to the eight recognized regional economic communities and affiliation to various other regional communities. As is evident in the table, overlapping memberships of regional economic communities is a characteristic feature of the African regional integration process. Interestingly, Algeria, Cape Verde and Mozambique are the only African countries that are members of only one regional community.

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