Intra-African trade has received a shot in the arm from The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which has committed USD 90 Billion to boost African trade when it unveiled its five-year strategic plan beginning in 2017 to 2021 dubbed Impact 2021.

The Pan-African finance provider was established in Abuja, Nigeria in October 1993 by African Governments, African private and institutional investors as well as non-African financial institutions and private investors for the purpose of financing, promoting and expanding intra-African and extra-African trade.

Regional integration through intra-African trade has the power to accelerate growth and development in Africa. Afreximbank`s bid to support intra-African trade through its Impact 2021 plan is an initiative set to unlock more interaction between African countries through trade. It will support the continent`s supply chains and export manufacturing capacity.

The bank`s plan to support the continent`s manufacturing capacity is in line with boosting local production which will also act as a prop for intra-Africa trade. What African countries need to realize is that the continent has been producing what it does not consume and consuming what it does not produce and this has also killed local manufacturing industries. The key to making intra-Africa a success story is for the continent to now start manufacturing products meant for African markets and also produce what other trade partners are eager to buy.

Currently, the low levels of trade within the continent is a result of low integration due to the high cost of trading and red tapes at border posts which have slowed down the movement of goods across borders. Africa can only compete with other continents if it improves intra-Africa trade.

As, we have always believed that trade and not AID is the way to unlock Africa`s potential. Africa has always been regarded as a sleeping giant endowed with resources which could see it become a prosperous continent if initiatives are taken to ignite intra-Africa trade.

Africa has the ability to produce and survive on its own resources rather than surviving on handouts from other continents which has not only killed local production but created a dependency syndrome which is costing Africa its future.

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