ITC and Afreximbank act jointly to unlock $1bn in Africa-Caribbean trade potential

ITC and Afreximbank act jointly to unlock $1bn in Africa-Caribbean trade potential

Poster for the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022. Photo courtesy “Suriname Dagblad”.

BRIDGETOWN/GENEVA--The International Trade Centre (ITC) launched a new report on Thursday, September 1, that identifies US $1 billion in export potential between Africa and the Caribbean. ITC and the African Export-Import Bank Afreximbank also extended their five-year partnership, which will help tackle trade barriers and build business capacity to realise that potential.
The renewed Memorandum of Understanding, signed on Thursday at the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 in Barbados, which runs from September 1 to 3, aims to drive trade and economic development for Africa through new Caribbean markets. The agreement focuses on trade and market intelligence and the creative economy as well as green solutions for better trade and investment exchanges in the two regions, geared at small businesses.
ITC’s “Expanding African-Caribbean Trade” report highlights that partnerships such as this one with Afreximbank are needed to tackle the economic consequences of global crises.
The report shows how the two regions have an export potential exceeding $1 billion in sectors ranging from agrifood and healthcare to tourism, fertilisers and automobiles.
Unlocking this potential requires stronger relationships between African and Caribbean traders, the removal of trade obstacles, such as high tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and greater investment in growth areas. The goods trade between the two regions is negligible and concentrated in just a few sectors, including primary minerals and chemicals.
With the right support in place, Africa could boost its annual exports of merchandise to the Caribbean by $171 million by 2026, a 54% increase over 2020 levels. The Caribbean could expand goods exports to Africa by $80 million or 29% – and its exports of services such as travel and transport, even more.
The ITC-Afreximbank partnership builds on the joint attempt to spur the competitiveness of small businesses in Africa and help them benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA. The agreement will promote increased investment in African businesses and cross-regional business opportunities, develop the creative and cultural industries and ensure access to accurate information about export markets.
The partnership also seeks to expand its joint training programme How to Export with the AfCFTA and establish a Business Council between Africa and the Caribbean.
ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said, “A trade boost between Africa and the Caribbean is possible. It needs an ecosystem to give credible data on market opportunities, support to exporting firms and guidance for governments. The new Africa-Caribbean Business Council is a critical initiative that will help transform transatlantic trade.”
President and Chairman of the Board of the Directors of Afreximbank, professor Benedict Oramah commented, “Under its vision of African unity, the African Union declared the African Diaspora as the sixth region of the continent. In this regard, the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum provides business communities from the African and [Caribbean Community – Ed.] CARICOM regions with a platform to engage, trade, invest, innovate and transfer technology. We believe breaking the trade barrier between Africa and the Caribbean will yield greater prosperity and market opportunities for our peoples and support the implementation of the AfCFTA through increased trade and investment.”
Afreximbank is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra- and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialisation and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. For more information, visit
www.afreximbank.com.
The ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets, thus contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit
www.intracen.org.

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