The Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has called on African governments to prioritise investment towards adding more value to African products in order to compete globally.
According to her, less than 20 per cent of intra-African and global trade in Africa still remains far lower and insignificant despite efforts made by African governments over the years to remain competitive.
“I am not at all happy with the African share of world trade, less than 2 percent, and African trade of 18 percent. In order to trade more, we have to add more value to our products, just selling commodities is not going to do it”.
She said this when she engaged policy makers, representatives of some political parties, members of parliament, think tanks and other dignitaries as part of her two-day visit to the country at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), in Accra.
She indicated that although WTO has over the years faced some challenges in finding lasting solutions to problems facing it, the organisation has made significant progress in reaching a consensus on some agreement at the 12th Ministerial Conference.
As part of the agreement was to make member countries drop export restrictions on food such as oil, wheat, rice among others when the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said although financial difficulties were considered to be one of the major challenges hampering trade among African countries, bureaucratic bottlenecks was a major factor that militate against intra African trade.
According to her, until some of these difficulties were adequately addressed, African countries cannot make any headway.
She also said her outfit has started discussions with sister agencies, IMF, World Bank among others as efforts were been made to work on some regulatory frame work to improve digital trading among members given the growing demand for e-commerce.
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