Saturday 17 April 2021
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Alweendo wants levelled international trade arena

Minister of Economic Planning, Tom Alweendo said there is a need for developed trading partners to show some willingness to re-look at how best to level the playing field when it comes to international trade.
He also remarked that the economic development of Africa has been impeded by illicit flows of funds from the continent.
Speaking in Washington, D.C. a week ago during a meeting entitled Ministerial on Trade, Security, and Governance in Africa, Alweendo noted that Africa is estimated to be losing more than $50 billion annually through illicit capital outflows. Alweendo stressed that this equates to about 2% of the continent’s total GDP in nominal terms.
Alweendo also noted that “for Africa’s industrialisation to be successful we will need to trade in the international markets.” However, as of 2016, Africa’s share of global trade was less than 3%. “We thus also need to look at how the current international trading system is arranged. Our experience shows that the system is tilted in favour of the developed economies.
In a report on titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: Measuring OECD Responses”, the OECD estimated that the illicit financial flows originating in developing countries, “from money laundering, tax evasion and bribery, often reach OECD countries. Recognizing these risks, OECD countries are taking action to avoid being safe havens for illegal money.”
Alweendo added that the illicit flow of funds from the continent hampers service delivery, diverts resources away from building much needed infrastructure, schools, training teachers and law enforcement officers. “It is here where we need the assistance of the United States of America (U.S.) to help us to stem this outflow” Alweendo emphasised.
The Ministerial was hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and was aimed at refocusing U.S. relationship with Africa squarely on trade and investment promotion. In his remarks, Tillerson noted that the refocus on trade was geared towards helping “unlock the tremendous potential of what is expected to become the world’s most populous continent in coming decades.” Tillerson said that “Africa is a growing market with vast potential. Five of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa, and consumer spending there is projected to exceed $2 trillion by the year 2025.”

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