Aid for Trade to Africa surpasses other regions, says ECA-led study
ECA Press Release No. 90/2011 Web: http://www.uneca.org/
Addis Ababa, 21 June 2011 (ECA) – African trade experts from member State capitals and the Geneva-based African trade negotiators assembled on Tuesday in Geneva for a
roundtable organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in
preparation for the 18-19 July, 3rd Global Aid for Trade (AfT) review. The aim of the
Review will be to assess the impact of AfT on economic growth, trade creation and poverty reduction.
According to the Information and Communication Service of the ECA, the day’s
roundtable discussed a collaborative study prepared under the auspices of the African
AfT Working Group. The Working Group comprised the African Development Bank, the ECA and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Speaking at the meeting, Stephen Karingi, Acting Director of the ECA Regional
Integration and Trade Division said, “AfT to Africa enjoys continuing growth, with no
apparent decline, following the global economic crisis and no signs of diversion from
other ODA.” He added that compared to other regions, Africa now supersedes Asia as the principal regional recipient of AfT.
Accordingly, economic infrastructure continues to enjoy the largest share of AfT to
Africa, closely followed by building productive capacity. The study shows that up to USD 7.2 billion has gone towards spending in economic infrastructure.
“During the period under review (2006-09), a few countries and regions appear to
receive a disproportionate share, but per capita AfT tells another story,” said Karingi.
He explained that as an example, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania were
among the top AfT recipients. “Yet, on a per capita basis, Island economies received
on average, a higher percentage (17.6) than say, non-LDCs, which received 9.9 per cent.”
Karingi also said that the increase in AfT to Africa is more impressive than the total
ODA flows to the region. “In other words, AfT to Africa increases at much faster rate
than the total ODA flows; growth rate of total ODA stands at 11.1% , while AfT 21.4%) during the period under review (2006-09).”
He argued that the picture demonstrates that AfT to Africa “has been rising, both in
volume terms and as a proportion of both the global AfT and total ODA to the region.”
To the relief of social development actors at the meeting, the study revealed that the
increase in the volume of AfT “was additional and not at the expense of a diversion of resources from other social or economic sectors.”
Case stories were also submitted to the WTO, which according to Karingi, provided a snapshot of AfT experiences on the ground in Africa.
“Of the 269 case stories submitted to the WTO, 114 pertain to Africa,” said Karingi. He added that ECA’s case story documenting the impact of AfT on specific binding constraints is a notable contribution on AfT Approaches for the whole continent.
A number of other issues emerged from the study, including the fact that AfT flow to
Africa is the most stable compared to other developing regions, such as Asia, America,
Europe and Oceania. There are also considerable variations among African countries in
AfT flows in terms of volume, per capita, ratio of disbursements to commitments as well as the share of AfT in the total ODA flows.
The conclusions will feed into the African Group position to the Committee of Trade
and Development to be held later in the week on 23-24 June 2011 and the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade to be held on 18-19 July 2011.