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ECA decries low intra-African trade

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says the share and volume of intra-African trade is too low.

Heini Suominen of the African Trade Policy Centre, ECA said this in a statement issued by the Commission’s Communications Centre on Tuesday.

The statement noted that Suominen said this in Addis Ababa during the regional Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) workshop.

“The share of intra-African trade is low compared to other regions and we have failed to effectively act as a shared force in the global arena.

“The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) under negotiation can act as a vehicle for change in this respect.’’

The workshop was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with the Ministry of Trade of Ethiopia.

The workshop forms part of a wider capacity building programme being run by the EIF to provide Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with the tools to deliver results in the implementation of programmes on trade.

It is also expected to help such countries to become more active players in global economy.

The statement quoted Ms Joy Kategekwa, Head of the Regional Office for Africa, UNCTAD as saying “EIF is unmatched in efforts to support trade as a propeller for LDCs national development’’.

“The EIF is keeping the trade agenda alive in LDCs with key implementation of on-going efforts for national priorities to support poverty reduction and sustainable development.

“UNCTAD is proud to be a core partner supporting analytical work in Ethiopia and strategies in The Gambia.’’

The statement said that Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade, Bekele Bulado, highlighted the analytical work already undertaken by Ethiopia under the EIF through the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS).

He said that the DTIS update of Ethiopia had identified various constraints which hindered the smooth growth of the trade sector to generate the foreign currency required for sustainable development.

The workshop aims to help countries to get acquainted with the changes in Phase Two of the EIF, enhance their capacity to implement the programme, show results and ensure long term sustainability of the programme.

The event brought together 14 EIF countries.

They are Ethiopia, The Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

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