Capacity Building for the Promotion of Trade and Investment in Africa - Challenges and Strategies

The lack of capacity has hindered Africa from exploiting the investment and trade opportunities offered by the global economy. Most of the constraints and challenges are linked to ineffective policies, poor management systems and frameworks, weak governance, conflicts, HIV/AIDS and the heavy external debt, among others. Despite Africa’s efforts to lifting some of the developmental constraints, African governments should strive to increase their awareness and build their capacity towards the promotion of trade and investments in Africa, and thus ensure their effective participation in the world economy. Following the commitments made to developing countries– dubbed the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) - the promise of additional assistance to developing countries to help them participate, negotiate and implement WTO agreements has not been backed by adequate resources. Given the experience of Africa over the last half century, it is clear that trade reform and openness alone is not sufficient to sustain economic growth and poverty reduction. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the major capacity constraints and challenges facing Africa as it seeks to expand its trade opportunities as well as attract greater volumes of good quality foreign direct investments. In addition, it puts forward a set of strategies and recommendations to address these challenges.