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Sustainable infrastructure bane of investment in Africa, says WTO

Sustainable Infrastructure

The World Trade Organization (WTO), sees the dearth of sustainable infrastructure as a big impediment to investment in Africa.

Speaking on the issue, the Director-General, WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, noted that most of Africa’s infrastructure are yet to be built.   

Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke during the second African Investment Conference (AIC), organised by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), said: “Two-third of the continent’s infrastructure are yet to be built, which is a big problem on the continent.”

Against the backdrop of the major challenges confronting trade investment in Africa at the virtual event, she reiterated the importance of a consistent sustainable infrastructure in the continent.

She therefore said: “There is still quite a bit of work on that front,” adding that this was the reason behind the conference, which “attempts to try and engage the private sector to invest on the continent.”

“Also, Africa has a strong comparative in renewables, so if you combine these two things, it is the path to building sustainable infrastructure,” she said.

On the challenges inhibiting trade investment in the continent, which  hosts about 20% of the world’s population, Okonjo-Iweala decried that Africa’s share of UK trade investment has slipped from 2.4% (pre COVID-19) to 2.1% (post COVID-19).

Regarding WTO’s contribution to Africa, she said the organization is strongly supporting the continent in building a strong and convenient economic environment.

“The WTO members have negotiated a multilateral trade facilitation agreement that is designed to reduce trade costs, which are extremely high and a problem for businesses on the continent. If the cost in tariff of the continent doubles that of the developed countries, this puts the business people on the continent at a disadvantage.”

She added that the WTO trade facilitation is really helping many countries to digitize trade costs.

Africa has a strong comparative in renewables, so if you combine these two things, it is the path to building sustainable infrastructure.

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