With a population of over 1 billion people, with one sixth of the world’s arable land, Africa is one of the richest and most endowed continents on earth but is fragmented into 54 weak and small markets with different systems and conflicting policies on matters of common interest to the continent and thus marginalized in global affairs.
Although Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world at present, the growth appears to be fragile, jobless, and based on distorted factors rather than sound economic fundamentals. Growth rates of less than that of the GDP, increases below 7% are not yet high enough to bring about a substantial reduction in the widespread poverty.
Growth for 2016 for the continent is still projected for around 3,7%, against a lower global average. We must remember, that we need average growth of 7% and above to achieve the rapid structural
transformation necessary to create prosperity and a better life for all Africa’s peoples. Africa is responsible for a significant proportion of its developing finance, as more than $527.3 billion comes from domestic taxes compared to $73.7 billion received in private flows and 51.4 billion in official development assistance (NEPAD and ECA, 2014).
Not more than 1% of seafarers and just 1.8% of ships globally are African owned, whereas over 90% of Africa’s imports and exports are conducted by sea. The economic value of the Blue Economy for Africa is estimated at over one trillion US Dollars, with hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for young African women and men.
The volume of intra-African trade has increased from $32 billion in 2000 to $130 billion in 2011; with increased diversification in manufactured goods, intra-African trade has huge potential trade to support Africa’s industrialization and structural transformation.