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Monday, October 30, 2006

Perigos do capitalismo global

A Pan-African Trading Area de Andrew Mitchell MP

(...) The World Bank has estimated that African countries would gain as much from liberalising their own agriculture as from European liberalisation.

African tariffs are some of the highest in the world. While OECD countries cut tariffs from an average of 23.7 percent to just 3.9% in the 20 years from 1983, Sub-Saharan Africa only cut its tariffs from 22.1% to 17.7%. And astonishingly, many African countries impose tariffs on the import of medicines, and even Tanzanian-made anti-malaria bednets. These are, effectively, killer tariffs.

While the world as a whole cut tariffs by 84 percent between 1983 and 2003, Africa only reduced theirs by 20%. For most Africans, it is harder to trade with those across African borders than with distant Europeans and Americans. In 1997, the World Bank found that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa imposed an average tariff of 34% on agricultural products from other African nations, and 21% on other products.

The results are clear. Only 10% of African trade is with other African nations. Meanwhile, 40% of North American trade is with other North American countries. and 68% of trade by countries in Western Europe is with other Western European nations. While North America and Europe have been getting richer through trade, Africa has been left standing at the touchline.

The world has lifted more people out of poverty in the past fifty years that at any point in human history – but Africa is the continent that is being left behind. The lack of intra-African trade is missed opportunity. Africa’s barriers are seriously undermining the continent’s prospects for development. They are preventing specialisation between African nations, hindering productivity growth, and clogging up Africa’s wealth creation engine.

(...)

Unless these informal trade barriers are tackled, millions of poor Africans will to have no option but to continue pay over the odds for essentials and to remain shackled in poverty. And Africa continues to suffer from chronically weak infrastructure. Increased trade between countries creates a demand for better roads, something Africa desperately needs, and provides the wealth to build and maintain them. (...)
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