Regional integration vital to the continent
(AfDB)-- The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, participated on Thursday, 4 March 2010, in London in a major international conference hosted by DFID to promote better regional economic integration in sub-Saharan Africa.
The event brought together some 170 people representing major countries, African institutions, donors, business entities, the academia, NGOs, think-tanks and others. Poor quality railways and roads, slow border crossings and port clearances contribute to Africa’s transportation cost being the most expensive in the world. Higher transportation costs imply less profit for businesspeople who rely on railways and roads to get their goods to the markets.
Trade within the continent is, on average, just ten per cent, compared to the 65 per cent of goods traded between European countries. Speaking during the event, Kaberuka said regional integration was vital to the continent, adding that it provided the underpinnings for private sector development and economic diversification.
The conference sought, in particular, to support and maintain political and donor momentum behind the African regional economic integration agenda; improve the way African institutions, including pan-African and regional organisations and donors work together; and enhance the role of businesses in efforts at attaining regional economic integration with a view to maximising the impact of private sector investment in regional programmes.
Hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the conference is jointly organised with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, and the UK Trade and Investment.