Time to boost trade on the continent

The Kenya Trade and Investment Summit offered us an opportunity to engage with Kenyan businesses and government on how we can boost trade between Kenya and South Africa, as well as the importance of intra-Africa trade. 

Boosting intra-Africa trade is a move in the right direction to kick start the African continent to economic growth through access to more developed markets, greater economies of scale and increased competition for domestic firms. 

Some of the fastest growing economies are in Africa and domestic firms could benefit from the flourishing consumer markets by harnessing the continent’s demographic dividend. Greater integration will consequently assist in creating more jobs and help alleviate poverty through elevated economic growth rates. 

A key barrier that hampers trade and investment in Africa is failing infrastructure, which should be a strategic objective for governments to address in the coming years. 

High transport costs due to poor regional road and rail networks remains a key factor that limits the movement of goods within the continent. 

East Africa is investing heavily in a standard gauge railway for passengers and cargo transportation that runs between Nairobi and East Africa’s largest port in Mombasa, as well as connecting to Uganda and Rwanda, which is likely to generate new sources of economic growth for the East African region. 

Most importantly, African countries need to embrace regional integration and allow the free movement of goods and labour. 

Of course, countries with socialist inclinations may take longer to reform on these principles; however, it’s a prerequisite for fostering economic development within the continent.

In order for business and governments to grow intra-Africa trade, there needs to be continuous spend on infrastructure, as well as structural reforms to improve the business environments in African countries, so they can attract much-needed foreign direct investment in order to achieve sustainable growth. 

Standard Bank is a truly African bank with a clear African focus. With a heritage of 153 years on the continent, we are focused on driving Africa’s growth and have an on-the-ground presence in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This unique footprint supports our strategy to connect African markets to each other and to pools of capital globally.

Anne Aliker is Standard Bank’s head of investment banking in Africa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday