Policy Dialogue at Africa Liberty Forum
Category : Pan-African Issues
Who is slowing down continental integration; the governments of the citizens of Africa? This was one of the policy issues discussed at the just ended Africa Liberty Forum On 10th June 2016, organized by IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, second most influential think tank in Africa according to The Lauder Institute of The University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Nkunimdini Asante-Antwi, Executive Director of Rural Heights Foundation was invited to discuss the topic following a presentation by IMANI’s director for Research, Mr. Patrick Stephenson.
The substantive Issues
- Though trade within certain Regional Economic Communities (e.g. EAC and SADC) has gone up over the years, the strategy for inter-community integration seem lost on the architects of the continental integration agenda.
- Structural complexity has become a downside risk to integration. In October 2013, East African Community (EAC) initiated talks with member states of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) about a possible merger. This very fact buttress the wide-held view that the structures as currently is are duplicated and unnecessarily cumbersome to enable faster reforms towards free movement of goods and services.
- Performance of South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda, Africa’s leading business sector reformers on the Doing Business Index by World Bank and International Financial Corporation (IFC), indicates stark realities about Africa’ commitment to cross border trade.
Taking the metric ‘Distance to Frontier (DTF), it takes, on the average 5 documents, 26 days and USD 3,245 for a 20-foot container to complete an export transaction in Rwanda for the period of the survey leading up to 2015. Although South Africa has comparatively cheaper cost (USD 1,380 per 20-foot container), it still takes about 16 days to finish paperwork, transport goods from warehouse to port and complete customs clearance for shipment. Comparing that to frontier markets on this metric (Singapore and France) reveals a tremendous optimisation gap.
- For more speedy and meaningful reforms, trade and non-trade barriers needs to be addressed through policy and institutional reforms to enhance trade and investments across borders.
- Africa’s agenda for poverty eradication can be achieved faster if access to new markets at cheaper cost is made possible for a strong local agro and manufacturing base to thrive.
About Rural Heights Foundation
Our focus is reduce incidence of poverty in rural Africa by intervening directly when we have to, and advocate for sound policy within 5 thematic areas (P.I.E.C.E):
- Participatory governance at the grassroots level.
- Institutional Reforms
- Educational Reforms
- Continental Integration & Trade Facilitation
- Entrepreneurship Development