Botswana and other Africa countries have been urged to trade amongst themselves amid revelation that inter-Africa trade is low. Africa Export-Import Bank regional manager Gift Simwaka said African countries were losing out by failing to trade amongst themselves.
“We should try to increase inter-Africa trade because it is at 12 percent and is very low. Research has shown that regions that trade amongst themselves develop faster,” said Simwaka while addressing business delegates in Gaborone. He said countries should trade in goods that they have a competitive advantage in.
“We should begin to look at agribusiness and agriculture commodities that can be traded amongst ourselves. There is need for the SMEs to be incorporated in that sector,” he said.
He said Africa Export-Import Bank offers many financial services for companies and individuals that want to venture into the export market.
The bank has an investment banking unit that provides advisory services to governments, corporates, banks and other institutions in the areas of export development, export sector reforms, privatisation, equity acquisitions, mergers, project promotion and leveraged buyouts.
Speaking at the same occasion, RMB Botswana Trade and Working Capital Advisor, Perry Bellos, also echoed the same sentiments and said Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should be supported to venture into cross border trade.
“We need to promote Inter-Africa trade it’s something that can be used here by SMEs in exporting within Africa. We need to promote and finance the export of local goods within the region,” said Bellos.
Bellos said in Botswana there were some SMEs that are into cross border business that needed to be supported.
“We have young entrepreneurs in Botswana that export to Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and need to be promoted and supported,” added Bellos.He said the SMEs needed to be trained on how they could venture into the export market. “The SMEs should also understand the complexities of export because it’s not about selling goods within the border post but it takes other things into account,” said Bellos.
He added that capital should not hinder the SMEs to venture into cross border trade.“Finance should not be an obstacle for exporters who are SMEs because the banks are here and we have also credit export agencies which can offer financial security,” he said. Reports say other continents are doing well in intra-trade when compared with Africa.
According to latest statics intra-European trade hover around 70 percent while intra-Asia trade is in excess of 55 per cent. Experts say with a population of 1.1 billion people in Africa, there is great opportunity for trade in the continent.