The apparent lack of interest in intra-African trade has taken center stage at an ongoing African investment forum in the Algerian capital, Algiers.
The Algerian prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal who raised the issued said trade within the continent has not seen any significant progress over the past decade even though trade between the continent and America and Europe was at 40 and 60 percent respectively.
“More than 80 percent of African exports” Sellal said were to countries outside the continent.
“It is time for Africa to win in the international court as a strong and dynamic team,” he urged.
The Algerian premiere also called on African businessmen to “seek growth in the business space, through win-win partnerships” noting that even a rise in oil prices in producer countries would not be sufficient to meet development needs.
Algeria which is also feeling the brunt of the drop in oil prices is seeking to diversify its economy hence some are pushing for the country to look at expanding its trade relations on the continent.
Abdelouahab Bourkrouh who manages the Djazair el Youm newspaper said: “In my opinion, this is a good opportunity for Algeria to move towards the African continent, the country has lagged behind in taking an interest in African affairs over the past twenty-five years.”
A view which can be supported by the assertion that Algeria is considered the country with the least trade relations on the continent.
Official figures indicate that Algeria’s exports to sub-Saharan Africa over the first nine months of this year was only 42 million dollars representing 0.25 percent of its total exports.
Its rival, Morocco on the other hand is rated the second country after South Africa to have investments on the continent.
Algeria’s forum is coming on the heels of an investor conference held by Tunisia earlier this week to raise money to set its crippled economy back on track. The conference raised billions of dollars in pledges for Tunisia from countries such as Qatar and France as well as donor agencies like the European Investment Bank.