February 4, 2019
The African Development Bank (AfDB) recommends coastal African countries to expand port infrastructure as a means of improving integration on the continent.
The AfDB recommendation is contained in the “Integration as a pathway to economic prosperity in Africa” dossier, which was part of the African Economic Outlook 2019 report, which sets out a set of policy responses to maximise the benefits of regional integration and mitigate potential risks for each type of economy.
Coastal economies, it said, should “expand port facilities, including warehousing and customs administration, as well as improve the efficiency of shipping traffic movement and container loading and unloading.”
The report noted that the cost of African port facilities is estimated to be 40% above the world standard, and that these ports also hold containers for longer periods, register delays in the release of shipping traffic, have extensive documentation processes and few containers per crane and per hour (except in South Africa).
Another AfDB recommendation is “to increase the speed and reliability of rail and road networks by reducing congestion and delays at checkpoints and bypasses for lorries and rolling stock for repair.” Coastal countries must continue to “encourage better conventions and instruments beyond stagnant multilateral negotiations to facilitate transit trade,” and put more focus on regional public assets, “which is easy to understand because of the benefits to all countries, especially low-income countries.
The AfDB report said economic growth in Africa continues to improve, reaching an estimated 3.5% in 2018 and accelerating to an estimated 4.0% in 2019 and 4.1% in 2020.
Growth leaders are non-resource rich countries – based on higher agricultural output and rising consumer demand and public investment – and these are growing faster (Senegal, 7.0%, Rwanda, 7.2%; Côte d’Ivoire, 7.4%) while the largest commodity exporting countries recorded slight or negative growth (Angola -0.7%).
The AfDB also reported that Guinea-Bissau was the Portuguese-speaking African country to post highest growth last year (5.3%), followed by São Tomé and Príncipe (4.1%), Cabo Verde (Cape Verde – 3.9%), and Mozambique (3.5%).