Speaking at the ongoing SMART partnership dialogue, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called on the Euopean Union (EU) and Japan to remove trade barriers, saying that their protectionism was the biggest barrier to investment in Africa, Reuters news agency reported. Ten African delegations are meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, until Tuesday to discuss Sustainable, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely approaches to development and inward investment. Museveni said African leaders were meeting “to conspire on how to defend themselves... on how to survive in the world”, in light of the G8 (Group of eight industrialised countries) regular meetings “to conspire on how to run the world”, Reuters reported. Africa accounted for just 1 percent of world farm trade and 1 percent of world tourism, and desperately needed the removal of anti-competitive EU and Japanese subsidies in order to allow it to trade easily, Museveni said.
Seven countries for eastern, central and southern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi) are also due to launch the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATIA) in Kampala to offer commercial risk policies for investors, and to encourage private insurers to offer similar cover. The ATIA plans to use US $105 million in World Bank credit to boost trade by up to $5 billion in the next 10 years by offering this trade insurance cover. The economy, and particularly exports, of the participating countries rely heavily on a few key commodities (copper, gold, minerals) and cash crops (coffee, tea, maize, tobacco, cashew nuts, etc), which leaves them vulnerable to fluctuations in world market demand and prices, as well as with heightened vulnerability to drought and other natural disasters. A primary objective of the region’s development strategy is to diversify economic activity towards sectors such as manufacturing, agro-processing, and tourism that have a higher value added and are less sensitive to exogenous factors. [for more information, go to: http://www.worldbank.org/pics/pid/3A63683.txt]
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