Africa faces the toughest trade market situation ever as it becomes obvious that the laggards in the business of trade will be the poor economies of the fourth industrial revolution. The issue of trade at a regional level in Africa has become a compelling argument to support faster growth within the African continent. Why any African government should stifle regional trade is an enigma. In any thriving regional trade environment, the countries need to have open trade agreements that support the absolute advantage of each country. In Africa, it seems that governments are not yet convinced by the shared prosperity brought by trade, as they prefer to conclude trade agreements with European and Asian countries.
At some point this decision-making will bite where it hurts. It is highly abnormal that Ethiopia, which is the largest beef producer in Africa mostly trades in Europe and Asia. Nigeria, which the largest oil producer in Africa mostly trades in the US and Europe. South Africa, which is the largest platinum producer and 5th largest wine producer in Africa mostly trades in Europe, and Cote d’Ivoire which is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans trades with mostly European companies. The potential for inter-regional trade is limitless, but it requires strong political support. One of the solutions to ensure that inter-regional trade is fully implemented is for African governments to structure working Private Public Partnerships at the borders of the participating countries in order facilitate a seamless movement of goods and services.