Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Improved Regional Integration Still Key For Success


Improved Regional Integration Still Key For Success

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

PARIS, Sep 25, 2007 (IPS) - While its economic landscape is brightening, Africa is still bedeviled by some of the same obstacles that has historically served to undermine economic development in the resource and labour-rich region. And many of those woes could be solved through development of further intraregional trade.

"The relatively small weight of intraregional trade in Africa, despite the existence of several (and frequently overlapping) regional trade agreements, is due largely to their structure of production and the composition of their exports," according to a report released earlier this month by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

UNCTAD puts the blame on the continent's continued reliance on exports of primary commodities while importing costly manufactured products from overseas, a trade pattern that significantly limits intraregional trade.

Though the continent's growth is seen at 6 percent in 2007, according to the report, and that per capita GDP in Africa has increased by more than 15 percent in the past five years along similar lines as West Asia and Latin America, analysts still see substantial hurdles for the region to overcome in order to meet the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Read the full article here.

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