The executive framework of the African Economic Integration Initiative has been finalised, according to Ibrahim Al-Arabi, President of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC).
Al-Arabi added that the first phase will begin with the launch of a new website that offers investment opportunities and joint projects.
This comes as part of the optimal exploitation of Africa’s natural resources, and will also present opportunities for developing intra-African trade in an integrated framework.
He said that the volume of imports to African imports amounted to $564bn from 231 countries, while the volume of African exports is estimated at $452bn to 223 countries. The value of intra-continental trade is about $70bn annually, which represents 15% of the value of African trade.
Al-Arabi noted that the optimal use of its resources would give Africa sovereignty over international markets, as reports indicate that the continent possesses 30% of the world’s mineral wealth.
It also possesses: 12% of global oil reserves; 43% of global gold resources; 50% of diamond resources; and 67% of untapped agricultural land.
He pointed out that the opportunities for cooperation and growth are not limited to the most developed countries, but that there are promising opportunities in the areas of complementary trade, added value and the development of joint investments.
There is also the contribution to the development of the infrastructure in many countries, which represents promising opportunities for many companies.
“We have developed a realistic strategy for multilateral regional cooperation in light of the needs of African countries, their resources and opportunities to create integrated activities for joint industrialisation on the one hand, and to replace African imports from outside the continent with alternatives available in Africa,” Al-Arabi said.
He added, “We are looking to find mechanisms for financing partnerships between African and Arab entities, in view of the great importance of financing to achieving cooperation on the ground.”
Al-Arabi indicated that the provision of financing mechanisms also achieves the independence of political and economic decision-making for African countries, without being bound by the policies of those countries financing the economic growth.