The President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Benedict Oramah, has called on African countries to seek channels that would enhance cross-border trade.
He urged African countries to create vehicles that would make it possible for manufacturers to trade across the continent.
Oramah gave the suggestion while speaking in New York during a high-level event at the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, 2016-2019, organized at the United Nations Headquarters.
The advice came amid growing concerns among Nigerian manufacturers who seem to need somebody to handle the export and trading of their products as they are not equipped for those roles.
Challenges facing manufacturing: Oramah listed the possible reasons why previous efforts by African countries to use manufacturing and industrialization as engines for development and growth had failed.
Some of his reasons include lack of access to market, lack of capital and skills and inadequate infrastructure. He also pointed out that many large-scale investors had little interest in investing in Africa in a massive way because of the fragmented nature of the African market.
He said Africa should focus more on labour-intensive manufacturing which had more net effect on the population than on capital intensive industries, stressing the need for Africa to focus on skills development, in particular, by going back to building technical schools and supporting universities of technology in order to equip people with the right skills for the kind of jobs that were beginning to emerge.
What you should know: In a bid to promote cross-border or intra-African trade in the continent, Afreximbank recently granted a $500 million facility to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The funds are expected to support the manufacturers and improve their product offerings. It was also put in place to help manufacturers compete against other products that will benefit from the free continental trade agreement and global brands.