ADDIS ABABA (HAN) January 30, 2016 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. The African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry Fatima Acyl has called for structural transformation to create jobs that will improve the wellbeing of the African people.
Ms Acyl, who was speaking at a meeting in Addis last week, before the African Union summit, said the backbone of the AU’s industrial transformation plan is the African Mining Vision, and the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area.
The mining vision, adopted by the Heads of State Summit in 2009, aims to make the mining sector more responsive to African economic and social development needs.
“If you don’t transform, there will be a lot of importing of products that you have,’’ Ms Acyl said.
She gave the example of her own country, Chad, which imports juices yet is a top grower of mangoes. The goal is to set up a free trade area by 2017.
The AU has already approved the creation of an African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) to provide strategic operational and co-ordination support to member states.
The goal of the AMDC is to address price volatility, and to ensure stable incomes to African producers.
Ms Acyl noted that many of the AU’s 54 member countries have populations lower than 20 million and economies of less than $10 million. The national markets of such economies are therefore too small to justify heavy investments.
The establishment of a continental Free Trade Area will create a single market for goods and services in Africa with a total population of over a billion people with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion, she said.
The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the free trade area could increase intra-African trade by as much as $35 billion per year.