The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says African countries need policy space to diversify, industrialise and transform their economies in order to integrate into the global economy. Minister Davies was speaking at the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Kenya.
Minister Davies highlighted that the African countries participate in the global economy as mainly suppliers of primary products. It is critical that concerted effort be put to ensure that countries move up the value chains. International trade rules should therefore not constrain policy space required by developing countries, including African countries to industrialise.
Davies said providing affordable sources of finance for manufacturing is critical for the survival of African industries in a globalised trade environment. He added that as Africans, we need to create larger continental markets to support our own industrialisation and improve Africa’s prospects of attracting investment. Hence, the importance of the development integration approach adopted by the continent which combines market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development.
Minister Davies stated that in support of this development integration agenda, the African continent needs investment that promotes inclusive growth and contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. As such it needs to attract investors that are committed to good business practices, responsible business conduct and are not involved in illicit financial flows.
“Multinationals must pay taxes. Some have exploited tax havens and this is not healthy. I think the issue of taxation remains a major challenge in developing countries,” he noted.
Meanwhile, last week South African government launched Trade Invest Africa which will provide support to South African businesses doing business in the rest of Africa. As well as the Guidelines for good business practice for companies operating in the rest of Africa which were signed by representatives of government and business at the Roundtable Discussions organised by the Department of Trade and Industry. The aim of this imitative is to promote an investment-led trade strategy in the continent and position South African companies as good partners in the development of the African continent.
Source: The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.