KAGAME URGES AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO EASE BORDER RESTRICTIONS

KIGALI, Rwandan President Paul Kagame urged African governments on Saturday to ease their restrictive movement of people and goods, saying the continent loses more than what it gains through protectionism.

Many trade facilitation efforts require little more than political will, said Kagame, who was speaking on the last day of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) meeting in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

He said trade depends on more than finance, and many trade facilitation efforts require little more than political will.

"We have examples in some regions where removal of barriers to trade has greatly improved the business environment. This needs to be shared widely across the continent so that Africans can reap the full benefits of integration," said Kagame.

He said Africa needs to be more resilient, in the face of consistent global shocks and increasing protectionism.

Although Africa's trade has witnessed remarkable growth, especially over the last two decades, rising from 210 billion U.S. dollars in 1996 to 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2015, its share of global trade has barely changed, according to statistics from Rwanda's ministry of finance.

Governments and the private sector should make the most of possibilities offered by Afreximbank, Kagame said.

Speaking at a session dubbed "Path to a Continental Free Trade Area for Africa," Kagame said there is need for self-evaluation on the implementation of initiatives to promote intra-Africa trade.

Afreximbank would continue partnering in the continent's development through governments and private sector partners, said Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank.

The Bank announced earlier that Rwanda would benefit from 500 million U.S. dollars funding credit line for various initiatives.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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