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Monday, 09 August 2010 13:07

Improved Infrastructure and Markets Can Bolster Trade

By Charles W. Corey

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 9, 2010 (AmericaDotGov) - Improved infrastructure, supply chains and the regional integration of markets in sub-Saharan Africa are of key importance to Africa's long-term economic growth and development, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) can help Africans prosper and play a larger role in international trade.

 

That was one of the themes explored at the AGOA Civil Society Forum 2010, which took place in Washington July 29-30 before the opening of the United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, better known as the AGOA Forum, on August 2. The civil society forum has as its theme this year "A Decade of Progress in Bridging the U.S.-Africa Trade Gap."

 

Katrin Kuhlmann, resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who is a specialist in making trade and development policies more demand- and market-driven, began the discussion. She told the delegates, who included representatives from businesses and nongovernmental organizations, that markets are regional by their nature but international as well.

 

Kuhlmann called the lack of adequate infrastructure a "tremendous challenge" to improving economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa. "The World Bank," she told the group, "estimates that half the infrastructure in Africa does not go where it is needed." So it is up to civil society to act as a "collective force" to push for the right kind of change, she said. "We need to think about where that infrastructure should be going and how we can be sure that the infrastructure investment that happens is going to meet the needs of everyone, including farmers, women and those who are right now isolated from market systems."

 

Gregory Gajewski, an economist with broad Africa experience who is vice president for economic development at The Louis Berger Group Inc., told the forum that even though billions of dollars have been invested in transportation in Africa, costs remain extraordinarily high and that affects economic growth. For example, he said, transportation makes up at least 50 percent of the cost of U.S. food assistance to Africa.

 

Gajewski stressed the importance of trade corridors that can connect farmers to large agricultural markets and thus streamline trade in sub-Saharan Africa, where 75 percent of the population is employed in agriculture and lives in rural areas. The problem, he said, is that most African farmers are not connected to large markets or corridors, so development specialists must focus on building not only large roads but secondary and tertiary roads, connecting farmers to the hamlets and then on to the main roads and marketplaces.

 

"Corridors are not a new thing but are a very big thing" in Africa's agricultural development, he said. He cited the Maputo to Johannesburg Corridor as a good example of a working transportation corridor that functions largely because the private sector had and still has a huge interest in developing and maintaining it. Aluminum is shipped to Johannesburg via that corridor, he explained, and that has sparked further industrial development. Additionally, private interests received the concession to run the port of Maputo. Road maintenance is managed by the private sector and the corridor authority is a private sector entity owned by the companies that use and benefit from that infrastructure.

 

Gajewski said each corridor must be managed by its own corridor authority to be effective and efficient. "It is a good idea to have a corridor authority for each corridor; otherwise they get into disrepair." Often, the corridor authority can see that truck drivers moving from one country to another are having problems transiting their goods across the border and can work with regional governments to solve those issues and streamline trade.

 

Eugene Terry, a plant pathologist with the Transform Africa project and former director general of the West Africa Rice Development Association, argued for more regional trade and smoother trade operations between African countries. While U.S.-Africa trade is very important to Africa's long-term economic development, he said, and while AGOA is important to that trade, Africans "must learn first how to trade in Africa."

 

"We must learn all of the challenges and the barriers and how to overcome them in Africa before we jump onto the big stage," he told his audience. "There is probably $50 billion worth of business to be done regionally that we have not mastered the art of doing yet. So this is where AGOA also has a role to play, in helping us with regional integration and the challenges that go with that."

 

The final speaker, Richard Tracy, director of international programs for the Global Cold Chain Alliance trade group, talked about the need to establish cold chains in Africa to extend the life of perishable agricultural goods so farmers can increase their incomes. Costs for transporting perishable goods in a cold (refrigerated) chain make up 60 percent to 70 percent of the cost of such a product, he said.

 

An effective cold chain, he explained, goes from post-harvest processing to transport, warehousing and then transport again to the retail sector and ultimately to the consumer. Where you see an increase in refrigerators, you see an excellent need for the cold chain. Anything that needs to be temperature-controlled from harvest to the consumer can benefit from a cold chain, he explained, from tobacco to nuts to vegetables to even vaccines.

 

From a business perspective, he said, the cold chain must be able to serve a variety of diverse products. "A return on the cold chain cannot be made when you just look at mangoes or cassava or dairy. It has to be an integrated cold chain to share the costs of the cold chain amongst all the products."

 

Tracy said there are low-cost cold chain options available for the developing world, starting with keeping agricultural products in the shade, storing harvested fruits and vegetables in brick-walled structures insulted with wet sand, or even adapting small air-conditioners to do double duty as refrigerators.

 

Ghana is using cold chain technology to export pineapples, he said, and Angola is importing 20 tons of poultry weekly and managing it through its own cold chain transportation network. Cold chain technology can work in Africa, he said, and can help farmers sell more products and increase their incomes.

 

Я полагал, что, если неприятности подобного "Эффективность системного аудита: экономическая, социальная и организационная"рода и вправду стрясутся, "Юридический анализ хозяйственных ситуаций, оценка их налоговых последствий и рисков их осуществления"Олли будет в этот момент со мной.

Это куда труднее, "Юридична відповідальність аудитора перед клієнтом"чем может показаться, сказал я.

ну, может быть, немного, ответил Спивак, надеясь, что смущением сумеет скрыть "Автогрейдер ДЗ-122 с дополнительным оборудованием для скалывания льда"правду о том, что втайне надеялся на третьего валета.

В "Автоколебания в станках"любом случае это было дюжину лет "Автоматизация барабанной прямоточной сушилки"назад, сказал я, и, как я "Автомат специальный зубофрезерный ЕЗ107"уже говорил, прошло много времени после того, как я что-либо читал "Автоматизация бункеров активного вентилирования зерна"об этом.

Однако при запуске ему придется отключить основные теплообменники и "Автоматизация вельц печи для переработки цинковых кеков"укрывшись в кабине, ждать, пока все сгорит.

Ему казалось, "Автоматизация газораспределительной станции"что голова его вот-вот расколется от всего этого шума, визга и пронзительных воплей.

 
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