Integrate Africa for 'bigger cake to share' - Mo Ibrahim

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Africa needs to pick up the pace in regional integration if the continent's fragmented small economies are to enjoy faster and sustainable growth through economies of scales and trade facilitation.

Speaking at a business seminar in Gaborone yesterday, philanthropist and international business leader, Mohammed 'Mo' Ibrahim said if regional economic integration is not implemented with promptness, small market sizes and unnecessary tariff and non-tariff trade barriers will continue to hamper growth for African private companies and government businesses.

With 54 states in Africa, integration has thus far been achieved to the level of economic blocs such as SADC or ECOWAS, but the idea of a 'One Africa' economic and political union still remains a pipe dream, more than 50 years after conception." Many countries in Africa are too small. With our 54 countries here, we are still smaller than China and India. We are all agreed that regional integration is the only solution to creating a bigger and efficient market for ourselves but unfortunately the process has been too slow. Currently, it is very difficult to trade among ourselves because of the fragmentation of the continent. I had to use my British passport to come here to Botswana. If I had used my Sudanese passport, it would have been a difficult and longer process," said the Sudanese born mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire.

Editor's Comment
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