A Spokesperson for the 12th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mr Tafferre Tesfachew, yesterday said the development challenges of developing countries, though daunting, were possible within the current generation.
“We are lucky enough to have lived in an era in which countries in Asia witnessed transformation in their economies and that gives us hope,” he told the Daily Graphic after a press briefing on some sessions of UNCTAD XII in Accra.
Trade among African countries makes up only 10 per cent of total trade on the continent, which is primarily with European countries.
Nearly half of all trade in Asia is among Asian nations themselves, while trade among European countries makes up about 60 per cent of the total trade.
These figures were given by Mr Tesfachew to show that Africa still had to catch up on trade among its countries.
He said with integration, the right policies and the will to follow through, the rapid development of less developed countries would be sooner than later.
Stressing the benefits of trade among African countries, he said if trade links were expanded and made stronger, disturbances in the economies of other regions would not adversely impact African countries.
Mr Tesfachew, who is also the Chief of the Office of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said the future of developing countries held great opportunity, saying that they were now were showing increasing confidence on how they wanted to develop.
“Some have also become important players in trade and a lot of groupings have emerged, such as the Group of 77, the ACP countries and the group of 50 less development countries (LDC) which are now seen bonding together and negotiating,” he added.
He said Africans needed to strengthen not only their trade links but also harmonise their regional policies on customs and the movement of persons, for instance.