The African Union (AU) says the mining sector and intra-Africa trade are critical to ensure that trade and industry play a catalytic role in Africa’s transformation agenda.
Speaking to the Press on Wednesday at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Fatima Haram Acyl, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, recalled that the AU heads of states adopted the African Mining Vision (AMV) in February 2009, with a view to making the mining sector more responsive to African economic and social development needs.
Its goal is the effective management of Africa’s natural resources for its development and structural transformation, not just increased revenue, noted the commissioner.
To implement the Vision, the AU heads of states in 2012, approved the establishment of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) to provide strategic support to AU member states, she said, the centre began implementing initial activities in September 2013.
With regard to boosting intra-Africa trade and building the continental free trade area, the commissioner stated that AU heads of states launched negotiations in June 2015 which are expected to be concluded in 2017.
“The establishment of a continent Free Trade Area in particular, which will create a single market for goods and services in Africa of over a billion people and a GDP of over $3 trillion provides a good reason to invest and partner in Africa,” she said.
With the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to rise from $1,7 trillion in 2010 to $2,6 trillion in 2020 pushing up consumer spending from $860 billion in 2010 to $1,4 trillion in 2020.
“The CFTA therefore offers African producers and investors an unique opportunity to benefit from this important market,” said the commissioner.
She quoted UN Economic Commission for Africa as it calculates the CFTA to increase intra-African trade by as much as $35 billion per year, or 52 percent above the baseline by 2022.