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Intra-regional trade in Africa needs to increase – Heymans

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Hennie Heymans, has said that greater regional integration in Africa is needed to capitalize on the continents growth potential, as growth in developed markets such as Europe, China and North Africa continue to stagnate, ITRealms reports.
Mr. Heymans noted that when comparing intra-regional trade statistics, Africa’s rates are amongst the lowest in the world, with less than 20% of what is produced in the region, remaining on the continent. Which means that over “80% of what is produced in Africa is exported, mainly to the European Union, China and the United States, while, over 65% of Europe’s trade occurs on its own continent and in North America, the figure is around 50%”.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s dwindling growth is influenced by factors such as slowed, moderate growth in advanced markets such as China, as well as the downward revision of growth for the region’s oil-exporting countries.”

The CEO also said that intra-African trade has vast potential to aid investment and foster growth on the continent. “To ensure that Africa is equipped to maintain and exceed its growth trajectory of 4% in 2017, business leaders, the government and the community need to work together towards making Africa an easier place to do business and to stimulate trade between the various African countries.”

Another issue is the varying de minimis values across the region. A new law in the United States has simplified shipping to the U.S. by raising the import de minimis limit from USD 200 to USD 800, which means that goods below USD 800 will not require formal customs procedures and will not be liable for duties or taxes. 
According to Heymans, in light of greater odds being against Africa’s growth, the biggest game changer for Africa will be its ability to boost connectivity and intra-Africa trade.
“The government and the private sectors need to continue to work together to create a sustainable and inclusive environment, and work on solutions to make it easier for African businesses to conduct business within their local and regional environment” he said.
Okoli Vincent/GEE


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