PUBLISHED ON July 20th, 2023

Eliminate NTBs to boost intra-African food trade

AFRICAN Union member states have been called upon to adopt policies which encourage intra-African trade in food production by among other things, removing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

It is said that NTBs currently make imports from outside the continent costly, compared to locally produced food.

AU member states were further urged to invest in irrigation agriculture by moving away from the reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

Equally, African countries were called upon to adopt policies that motivate the youth to take part in agriculture to ensure increased production and reduce food insecurity.

These were some of the resolutions of the 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum that was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya from July 10th – 12th, this year.

The forum further encouraged AU Member States to build resilient food systems which are climate resilient by employing technologies which promote investments in technologies that also address post-harvest losses.

The three-day forum vouched for Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) to promote partnerships for ensuring sustainable financing and management of national and regional agro-industrial parks and regional value chains.

Member states were encouraged to align their agribusiness priorities in line with the Malabo and Maputo declarations and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The forum resolved that investments in transport and logistics should be supported to ensure agribusinesses are scaled up and sustainable to ensure food security in the African continent.

On ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy supplies, the forum urged AU member states to mobilise additional financing towards enhancing the participation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) upon providing subsidies and other incentives as to increase energy access in Africa.

The forum called on AU member states to ensure technologies are upgraded to address power leakages that arise from poor metering and delayed replacement of meters.

AU members were further urged to invest in essential energy infrastructure at the same time remove barriers to private investors with interest in this sector.

The forum urged the African Union Commission (AUC) to develop guidelines to accelerate mobilisation of additional resources to accompany private sector actors to participate in IPPs within the energy sector in Africa.

Private Sector Actors were advised to develop a community of best practice sharing and networking amongst IPP enterprises in Africa.

On the role of digital trade and its implications for African economies, AU Member States were asked to adopt the development of electronic payments and settlement systems and harmonise user fees on mobile money payments.

Member states were urged to promote PPP in order to leverage limited resources, skills and technologies.

The forum called upon Member States to promote the uptake of digital literacy and other critical skills and business to people networks.

The forum called for a mindset change on products made in Africa as well as developing and harmonising digital portals in order to improve content and quality of products at both regional and continental levels.

To transform the productive capacities of the textile and apparel industry in Africa, develop innovation centres in the five (5) African regions to promote African fashion based on the common cultural identity.

Member States were urged to adopt policies to ban the importation of second-hand clothes on account of their deleterious impact on the garments and apparels home industry and their health-related negative effects on people, in addition to appropriate policies that support the development of the value chain.

The forum called for investment of substantial budgetary resources in the garment and apparels sector, while emulating the best practices of countries that have taken this path such as those in East Asia and other parts of the world.

The AUC was called upon to promote the consumption of local African textiles through the integration of African fashion shows into major African events.

African designers were asked to be consistent in their products to effectively compete on the international market and to promote offshoring of African Brands elsewhere on the continent.

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