ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Tuesday stressed the need to unlock intra-Africa trade as only less than 20 percent of goods produced in Africa currently staying within the continent.
"Africa is in a unique position in that it has the chance to trade with an untapped market. There is a need for African countries to unlock trade amongst themselves for the benefit of their economies," the AU said on Tuesday.
According to figures from the 55-member pan African bloc intra-Africa trading rate is "among the lowest at 15 percent, with less than 20 percent of what is produced in the region staying within the region."
Amid the need to curb the current low level of intra-Africa trade, the AU also on Tuesday kicked of a high-level meeting that aimed on boosting intra-Africa trade, which runs from Dec. 3 to 5 at the headquarters of the AU in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa under the theme "Made in Africa and Buy in Africa."
Noting that the African continent "is still the world's least connected continent," the AU said during the meeting also stressed that "African countries should focus on developing connectedness and building trade relationships."
It also emphasized the robust potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which was signed by 54 AU member countries as of July this year.
According to the AU, the free trade pact is expected to promote industrialization and continental competitiveness through the creation of regional market value chains for goods and services.