Euro-Africa Trade: New paradigm needed for increased investment – President Akufo-Addo

By Stephen Asante

Accra, Jan. 31, GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says a new paradigm hinged on structural transformation must be defined to allow African economies trade at the high end of the global value chain.

In the search for a robust Euro-Africa trading system, in particular, a structural transformation to change course from raw material producing and exporting economies, to value-adding, industrialising economies, was a necessity, he stated.

“This will generate mutual prosperity for the peoples of the two continents,” the President said in an address at the Africa Day 2024 Summit, in Vienna, Austria.

The continent, he noted, must shrug itself off the existing practice where it had been largely dependent on the production and export of raw materials, without any meaningful value-addition processes.

In 2021, 68 per cent of goods exported from the European Union (EU) to Africa were manufactured goods, while 65 per cent of goods imported to the EU from Africa were primary goods (food and drink, raw materials and energy), the World Trade Organisation has estimated.

EU exports of goods to Northern Africa rose from € 59 billion in 2011 to € 76 billion in 2021, equivalent to an average annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

The growth rate was highest in Eastern Africa (2.7 per cent), followed by Western Africa (1.9 per cent) and Southern Africa (0.2 per cent), exports of goods to Middle Africa (-3.3 per cent) declined in this period.

This year’s Africa Day Summit aims to highlight the opportunities in various regions of the continent, provide practical leads on how to tackle the market and, most importantly, provide a platform for Austrian and African companies to connect.

President Akufo-Addo elaborated that the path to accelerate economic growth, ensure food security and create jobs was dependent on the growth of more entrepreneurial economies in Africa.

Therefore, the leaders ought to prioritise investment in education and skills training, while encouraging high levels of investment in entrepreneurial development.

On the economic prospects of Africa, the President said the continent was in possession of thirty percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources, and two-thirds of the earth’s arable land.

On the equitable balance of wealth, he drew an analogy that the lessons of history had shown that “a rich trading partner, operating within a fair trading system, brings prosperity to both sides, far more than the exploitation of a poor partner”.

“The problems that face the world are more likely to be quickly resolved when we are all prosperous, than when half the world is immersed in poverty.”

After 60 odd years, it was obvious the aid path would not take Africa to where it had to be, President Nana Akufo-Addo emphasised, saying: “Africa does not want to be a scar on anybody’s conscience. She does not want to be pitied. She does not want to be either a pawn or a victim.

“Africa no longer wants to be the default place to go to find the footage to illustrate famine stories. We no longer want to offer the justification for those who want to be rude and abusive about Africa and her peoples,” he added.