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Afro-Caribbean trade could go up by $1bn in 5 years


There is very little trade between the two regions. According to Carla Natalie Barnett, secretary general of the Caricom Secretariat, current estimates place commerce at just under $1.5 billion. Africa barely accounts for 4.4 percent of the $18.8 billion in exports from Caricom nations to the world, with $800 million.

And only $603 million of the $33 billion in imports come from Africa. Less than 1% of the $4.5 billion worth of fish that Africa purchases each year comes from the Caribbean, indicating that trade relations between the two regions can be boosted.

During the Forum, the International Commerce Centre published a paper outlining how trade in industries like agrifood, healthcare, tourism, fertilisers, and vehicles could fast rise by $1 billion over the following five years.

René Awambeng, global head of client relations at Afrezimbank, made the observation during a session on the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that while Africa only accounts for 2% of global manufacturing, more than 70% of its exports are raw materials.

Awambeng contended that a SEZ might be developed in Dakar to export manufactured goods to Barbados, using it as a transhipment platform to access the $27 trillion market of North and Latin America. The Bank is investing extensively in SEZs in an effort to develop larger manufacturing capabilities. An SEZ’s potential would need to be increased by building air and sea connections.

While it is still just conjecture, there were a lot of serious announcements made over the course of the three days.

As part of its strategy to forge connections, Afreximbank declared that it will be hiring more interns from the Caribbean. The Bank also plans to invest $700 million in the establishment of a Caribbean Exim Bank.

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