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Improved trade relations necessary for economic growth in Africa

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World Cement,

At the International Conference on the Emergence of Africa, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, Acting Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank, said that creating favourable terms for trade and enhancing trade relations with other countries should be a critical agenda for emerging Africa.

The conference was organised by the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in partnership for the AfDB and the World Bank. The event highlighted that favourable trade concessions are needed in order for African countries to experience economic growth. African Development Bank statistics put Africa’s economic growth at 5.5% in 2014, and target 7% for 2015.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Abidjan Declaration, which emphasises the impact of Africa’s trade on the global market. “Countries aspiring to become emerging markets should accelerate regional integration through the creation of regional blocks that could eventually lead to the improvement of intra-regional trade and efficient access to global markets,” the declaration stated. It went to add: “The inclusion of the most vulnerable populations into the financial system, and especially women and their access to credit should be promoted so as to increase their share of participation in the economy.”

The continent’s energy problem also came into focus during the meeting.

Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice-President for Africa, challenged governments to prioritise measures to address the energy crisis, as it is a key element in attracting investment, which is necessary for economic growth. Terrorism was also on the agenda, with Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, calling for concerted efforts to address terrorism, which he noted was a serious threat to the economic development of African countries.

A committee comprising representatives from the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the AfDB, the United Nations, World Bank, private sector and civil society has been tasked with the implementation of the Abidjan Declaration.

Adapted from press release by

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