Scholars Urge Gov’t to Exploit Untapped Economic Opportunities within Africa

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Addis Ababa December 29/2021/ENA/ Ethiopian scholars have urged the government to design a sound strategy with a view to properly exploit the wider African economic opportunities including East African countries.

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It is to be recalled that the US administration has recently suspended Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that provides tariff and quota free market in the US.   

The scholars told ENA that the government should take the necessary measures to compensate this market by enhancing economic cooperation with countries in Africa where there is untapped huge market.   

The market in African countries for various agricultural and industrial products including fruits and vegetables, leather, garment and textiles is immense, the scholars pointed out.

Agricultural researcher, Dr. Tsedeke Abate said there is a huge market in neighboring countries for Ethiopian organic fruits and vegetables.

According to him, currently Somalia is a very big market in east Africa for vegetables while Djibouti and Saudi Arabia have a large consumer base for Ethiopia’s various agricultural products.

Several advanced countries of world had experienced sanctions but were able to tackle the challenges by designing strategies that help their economies citing China as an example.

“During the 1940’s Western powers have deliberately sanctioned China to deny its soldiers malaria drugs. However, the Chinese had manufactured home grown malaria drug and bit the sanction,” he added.

The economist, Dr. Fekadu Degefe on his part said the decision made by the US administration on Ethiopia is purely a political one.

Hence, African unity and integration, in the economic and other sectors is vital to maintain Africans interest by avoiding the interference of others in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.

According to Fekadu, the products that Ethiopia used to supply to the US under the AGOA treaty are of a good quality that other countries would also want to buy.

Livestock researcher, Dr. Workeneh Ayalew said domestic economic reform will also help to revamp the economy. He added an economic reform will enable to create more jobs and improve the lives of people in the country.

Many have also been advising African nations to actively involve in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement as it will creates the largest free trade area in the world.  

The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.

It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.

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