Strengthening the private sector to boost continental trade and integration in Africa

08 May 2015

Africa needs a dynamic and vibrant private sector to seize existing opportunities in the trading system, says UNCTAD Policy Brief. The document identifies some key elements of a credible policy package to promote private sector development and boost intra-African trade.

Regional trade has the potential to contribute to sustained growth, poverty reduction and inclusive development. It has played this role effectively in several countries in Asia and Latin America. But in Africa, the expected results have been slow to come to the fore.

Of the many factors that account for this situation, the weakness of the African private sector is paramount and needs to be understood and effectively addressed.

Key points

  • African Governments should create more space for the private sector to play an active role in the regional integration and development process.

  • Making regional integration work for Africa requires improving infrastructure, enhancing access to credit, facilitating cross-border trade, developing workforce skills, strengthening mechanisms for consultation with the private sector, and maintaining peace and security.

This policy brief draws heavily from the UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2013, subtitled Intra-African Trade: Unlocking Private Sector Dynamism.