Former state president FW de Klerk said steps should be taken to increase Africa’s diminishing share of global trade which, he said, has declined from 2% in 1980 to 1% in 1999.
“Although first world nations are quick to give lip service to the need to help develop African economies, they are often ruthless when their own interests are adversely affected,” he said in a recent lecture at the University of Pretoria on the state of African governance.
He added that tariffs imposed by developed countries on agricultural imports from Africa are four to seven times higher than the tariffs they impose on manufactured imports. He also criticised developed countries who continue to subsidise their farmers by up to US280 billion a year. “By so doing they make it difficult for Africans to compete in the one area where they have a competitive advantage,” he said. De Klerk said Africa must also expand intra-regional trade which now accounts for only 10% of its total trade compared with intra-regional trade in Europe and North America which accounts for 67% and 40% of their total trade respectively. “All African countries should start doing more business with each other,” he said. – Wilma den Hartigh