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African Economy To Grow Faster By The Use Of Free Trade Zone Scheme



Africa’s economy is expected to grow 3.5 per cent in 2018, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 2017, a UN official said recently.
Speaking at 30th AU Summit being held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Vera Songwe, Secretary-General of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said the growth uptick will be underpinned by strengthened external demand and moderate increase in commodity prices.
She said the growth will also be supported by more favorable domestic conditions including restoration of oil production in a number of countries and expected recovery in 2018 and 2019 of major economies like Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.
However, she said the growth would not be enough for the continent’s rising population of more than one billion, 70 per cent of whom are categorized in the youth group.
Songwe said: “adjusting for population growth, the projected economic growth remains inadequate for Africa to make significant progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the eradication of poverty and hunger.
Secretary-General UN Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe    Photo credit: UNECA


“Although poverty level is reducing, it is still intolerably high at an average of 40 percent for the continent. As Such, there’s need to upscale efforts at structural reforms, prudent economic management and promoting regional integration.”
In a related development, the Executive Secretary of African Free Zone Association, Chief Chris Ndibe maintained that the projection in economic development is achievable and can be surpassed if the countries in the continent will give attention to the development of Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Zones in the continent. Talking to journalists in his office in Abuja said that the programme of SDG should incorporate the advantages of Free Trade Zone and promoting regional integration.
Sustainable Development Goals are United Nations- sponsored effort to create a common set of development goals for all communities in every country, with a deadline for attainment by 2030. The idea is to get governments, aid organisations, foundations and NGOs on the same page about what global problems most urgently need to be solved and how to measure progress and solutions.
Adopted in September 2015, the SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals which were in place for the past decade and half.
Impressive as the working document produced by the high-level UN Open Working Group is, the SDG took effect since January 2016, the early question that poses itself is “what next for the continent of Africa”.
As indicators for the SDG target remain under debate, African Union through her relevant department should incorporate in the debate, achieving Global Value Chain (GVC) among the producing countries in Africa with its relevance in growth, diversification and competitiveness through the Free Trade Zone Scheme. The Free Trade Zone Scheme, if given the desired attention will propel the economy of the continent faster than is projected. Above all is mopping up of the joblessness on the streets of every host country