*Economics and International Business Student at Universidad EAFIT, Colombia.
For the last eight months this observatory has dedicated its entire efforts on explaining the benefits of trade, the challenges and advantages of global value chains, the main challenges for developing countries to establish a truly beneficial trade policy, and moreover, this nine-member group has try to transmit the idea of a strong link between a country’s social and productive investment and its trade and development achievements.
By analyzing all the previous articles written by members of the observatory, it becomes evident that our last goal is to provide structured ideas on economic policy, which can beneficially impact each member of society. Taking this into account, the idea of studying a region thatis so incredibly endowed with natural resources, but has not been able to transform it into a substantial economic development, becomes an extremely interesting challenge. Therefore the purpose of the series of publications that I am about to start, will be focused on how to unlocked African private sector dynamism to promote trade and ultimately economic development in the region.
Although since the 2012 African Union summit, governments in the region have shown interest in making a bigger effort to exploit intra-African trade, as they recognize it as an opportunity to generate employment, catalyze investment and foster growth, the level of trade, giving African factor endowments, it’s still extremely below its potential (UNCTAD, 2013). One of the main reasons for this trade underdevelopment, it’s that the measures taken until now to promote intra-trade have been based on the reduction of trade barriers, but small efforts have been made to enrich countries productive capacities, therefore there is no sufficient supply of goods to increase exports.
Moreover, there has not been a strong plan to incorporate the private sector in the process of trade liberalization and intra-African trade. This has caused a generalized unawareness within the enterprises about the diverse opportunities and challenges to build up a bigger productive capacity, that provides them higher benefits. Bearing this in mind, the following reports will concentrate first on the detailed explanation and analysis about Africa’s current trade data, and then, will move to the structured policies needed to take advantage of the already made tariffs and non-tariffs reduction, which will hopefully rebound positively on that 48% Sub-Saharan population that still live under $1.25 a day.
UNCTAD (2013). Economic Development in Africa. United Nations: Geneva, Switzerland. Available online at: http://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=604