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Intra-Africa exports surge

While this figure may seem modest compared to other regions, it hints at the vast untapped potential within the continent's borders.

AFRICA'S intracontinental commerce is on the rise, accounting for 16,3% share of total trade in recent years, according to Kwazulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

While this figure may seem modest compared to other regions, it hints at the vast untapped potential within the continent's borders.

"Reflecting on the journey thus far, it's evident that Africa has traversed great distances," she said at the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings incorporating the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum.

"Gone are the days when our continent was mired in conflict, disease and famine, shackled by the weight of its colonial past. Today, we stand tall amidst a landscape of democracy, open economies, and relative political stability."

Yet, despite the strides the continent has made, challenges persist. 

Africa, comprising 17% of the world's population, commands just 4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and a mere 2% of world manufacturing output. 

The continent's share of world trade stands at a modest 3%, a figure dwarfed by the intra-regional trade volumes of other continents.

"However, within these statistics lies a glimmer of hope. Intra-African exports have seen a notable uptick, accounting for 16,3% of our total trade in recent years," Dube-Ncube said. 

"While this pales in comparison to other regions, it underscores the potential that lies within our borders. It's heartening to note that over three-quarters of this trade occurs within regional blocs, signaling a growing intra-African economic ecosystem."

She said the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) marks a significant milestone in the continent's quest for economic emancipation. 

AfCFTA  aims to create a single market of over one billion consumers with a GDP exceeding US$3 trillion.

"It's a testament to our commitment to overcoming the barriers that have hindered Africa's full participation in the global economy," she noted.

The successful implementation of the AfCFTA agreement is expected to lead to diversification of exports, increased productive capacity, acceleration of growth, increased investment, increased employment opportunities and incomes, and most importantly, broadened economic inclusion both in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

The events being held in Nassau, in The Bahamas, from Wednesday to Friday, are running under the theme "Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa."

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