“Accelerating Growth through Improved Intra-African Trade” is the name of a recent study produced by the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute.

Africa is the second largest continent in the world and three times the size of the United States. But if you compare economies, Africa is quite small. “In 2010, its gross domestic product was approximately $1.6 trillion, compared with the U.S.’s $14.5 trillion GDP.” Given these “economic dimensions,” commercial integration in Africa is a crucial component for generating economic “growth and raising the standards of living for many on the continent,” according to the Africa Growth Initiative report.      

The main factures impacting increased intra-African trade, the report says, include regional integration, economic diversification, conflict, infrastructure and border issues.


And although intra-African trade isn’t the end-all for African development, its importance can’t be minimized.   Some of the benefits include, “assisting the continent’s industries to become more competitive by creating economies of scale, and weeding out products that are less productive in the marketplace.   It can establish and strengthen product value chains and facilitate the transfer of technology and knowledge via spillover effects.” In addition, it can “incentivize and spur infrastructure development and attract foreign direct investment,” said the report.   Currently Africa’s internal trade only represents 10 percent of its total trade. Most of its exports go to “advanced economies,” and most of its imports come from those same countries.

40th Anniversary of ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ by Walter Rodney

2012 represents the 40th anniversary of the publishing of Dr. Walter Rodney’s historic book “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.” To pay tribute to this classic study of the impact of European capitalism on the African continent Pambazuka Press has republished Rodney’s work.

Rodney who was assassinated in 1980 by government agents in Guyana, details how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the U.S., share responsibility for “impoverishing Africa.”

With the freeing of Africa and its continued oppression as main concerns he “delves in the past,” warning “otherwise it would be impossible to understand how the present came into being.” He argues, “African development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of underdevelopment of Africa over the last five centuries.”

If you are an African non-governmental agency of limited means, please email [email protected] to arrange for a complimentary copy of this e-book (Adobe PDF).    

ANC Youth League President remains defiant

Julius Malema, African National Congress Youth League president, took a defiant tone outside his home in Polokwane, as South African finance authorities and the ANC’s national disciplinary committee are set to finalize his expulsion, reported South Africa’s Business Day.   Malema was speaking after delegates at a Limpopo youth League elective conference demanded to see him, as he has been barred from addressing ANC gatherings.  

“They have unleashed all state institutions against me because they want to do anything in their power to silence me.   If they want to arrest me, I’ve got an address. They are welcome to come and arrest me,” said Malema, referring to probes into his finances by the South African Revenue Service, reported Business Day.   “They must continue to abuse this power that they have and will see whether they will survive history because when all is done, history will be the judge.”

The indicted leader of the African National Congress Youth League, according to Business Day, is in a “protracted battle with the ANC, and has spearheaded the campaign to prevent President Jacob Zuma from getting a second term as the leader of the party.”

(Jehron Muhammad, who writes from Philadelphia, can be reached at [email protected].)