The on-going trade wars between the Western countries and China meant to impose barriers on trade will ultimately have major implications on Africa’s economic growth, says former republican president Rupiah Banda.
Speaking during 135th Trade and Development Bank (TDB) Board of Directors meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Banda said Africa, including the global economy, would experience sluggish trade, which he projected to further contract due to the ongoing Sino-US trade wars.
China and the US are currently locked in a full-scale trade war as both sides are entangled in trade tariff disputes on various goods flowing from either direction.
In July this year, US President Donald Trump’s administration released a list of proposed tariffs on US $200 billion worth of goods, ranging from auto parts to construction material.
The White House on July 6 imposed a 25 per cent tariff on US $34 billion of imports from China, especially manufacturing components, which Beijing promptly matched with tariffs of its own, including on U.S. soya beans.
In a statement issued by First Secretary at the Zambia Embassy in Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza, Banda observed that tariff dispute will have adverse effects on African economic growth as most economies on the continent are commodity-dependent.
He observed that there was need for African countries to reduce dependence on exports of primary products, but to instead add value to products and improve the diversification of economies.
“Zambia’s fourth president, His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, says the ongoing trade wars between the Western countries and China meant to impose barriers on trade have major implications on Africa’s economic growth. Speaking during a special High-Level Stakeholders Appreciation and Engagement dinner on the occasion of the 135th Trade and Development Bank (TDB) Board of Directors meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the former president said the global economy, too, is likely to experience a period of sluggish trade, with risks of further slowing down as a result of the trade wars. Prominent among the people who attended the dinner were former Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn Haile Mariam; Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economy, Ahmed Shide; Ethiopia’s first female Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi; National Bank of Ethiopia Governor, Abdallah Hamdok and Abdallah Hamdok, a member of the TDB eminent panel of experts. Mr. Banda co-chairs the Eminent Panel of Experts on the TDB board with the President of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure,” read Mwanza’s statement.
“The former president emphasised the need for African countries to reduce its dependence on exports of primary products, but add value to products and improve the diversification of its economies. Mr. Banda said faster integration of African economies focused on inter-African trade, removing barriers to mobility of persons and capital investing in infrastructure was one sure way of guaranteeing the continent’s economic growth. He urged African Union member-states to embrace the Continental Free Trade area (CFTA), the Tripartite Agreement between COMESA, SADC and EAC, which is expected to trade from Cape Town to Cairo. The former president further urged African countries to come up with export-processing zones like the Lusaka Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ), which was focused on producing clean energy, while at the same time promoting tourism through a national game reserve linked to the facility.”
Banda added that the Trade and Development Bank was actively engaged in intra-African trade and currently had an asset base amounting to US $ 5.4 million.
“On the Trade and Development Bank, Mr. Banda said the bank was actively engaged in the African trade space with the total asset base amounting to US $ 5.4 million as of 30th December, 2017. And Mr. Banda commended the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the young and dynamic leadership that has embraced gender parity. He said Africa was watching with great interest the transformation that was taking part in Ethiopia,” read the statement.
The 135th Trade and Development Bank (TDB) meeting was being held under the theme: “Integrating and Advancing the region’s economies.”