Aftermath of Financial Turmoil: Time for Africa to Look Within

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 

AfricaAs the financial meltdown in the Western world extends to other parts of the world, Africa might be caught off guard, especially as the West is a major trade partner, with the US alone importing some 6000 plus agro-based products through the duty free and quota free AGOA, the near-preferential trade arrangement.

 Fearing the inability of ordinary Westerners to make allowance for imported products, some African leaders are looking on nervously at China as the next trade destination. One of such worried leaders is Uganda’s finance minister. The minister is hoping China will not be affected by the failures of the world financial market since it will serve as a good alternative for exporting goods.

But why China and not other African countries? After all, Africa as a continent trades very little amongst itself, despite a potential market of close to 800 million people. It would be great if regional trading blocs within the continent deepened integration by doing away with unnecessary barriers to the movement of people, goods and ideas.