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Africa is in dire need of a leap of faith in intra-trade within its agricultural sector. During these perilous times, we need progressive innovations that will remediate our present absurdities, and set our economy on the path of growth and prosperity.

I find solace in the words of Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find what you need”. Those who are allergic to dissenting views would certainly not take the advice literally, but I remain undeterred as a young Africa leader. I got talking with a bosom friend of mine who shared my concerns on the importance of intra-trade in advancing the agricultural sector of the African economy. I respect Richard’s views because of his rare expertise in marshalling intelligence on dialectical issues.

Richard began his submission by postulating from the Bible:1“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”. I stared at him in confusion, trying to drive meaning from the quotation. He went further by saying: “African leaders must mount a collective wail of protest against the centrifugal forces that pull hard at our agricultural unity, economy and growth, rather than behaving like a group of bald men fighting over the ownership of a comb”. Puzzled as I was, I had to allow Richard make his point. He expressed disdain over the ‘competitive jealousy’ bedeviling intra-trade activities in the continent, as responsible for many problems associated with the agricultural sector.

Buttressing his point further, he said: “Africa doesn’t have a common market place for intra-trading, especially for agricultural produce, to catalyze economic sustenance, growth and to serve as a substratum to encourage agricultural practices in the continent. I agreed with Richard’s point and concluded that the solution is broadening Africa’s market space and establishing agricultural partnerships amongst member states. As a key driver, formidable transportation networks must be established that unite African states. This will foster the circulation of varieties of agricultural produce across the continent. It will also help annul the sole preference for indigenous agricultural produce  and serve as an enhancement for any joint agricultural framework for improving productions in the continent—especially between countries with common agricultural productions.

Richard expressed satisfaction with my view as a young African leader. I added that a uniformed policy and agreement by African leaders will fast track the development of a unified transportation network in the continent, favoring movement of agricultural commodities, goods and services. It will also provide an enabling environment for the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA). Furthermore, it is worth noting that if the2AfCFTA is successfully implemented, the agreement   will create a single African market of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion. The implication remains that African economies will be well diversified towards the agricultural sector, because agriculture is the major means of livelihood in Africa.

Richard asked if it was conducive to transport agricultural produce for trading within the continent, without bottlenecks. He remarked that the multiplicities of legal tenders used in Africa, have divided us to our separate ways.

Again, I concurred that the issue of currency is a major reason why African nations are in competitive jealousy. Hence, not complimenting each other in terms of agricultural productions. Meanwhile, a common objective is achieved when participants have a central denominator. A unified currency

System will enhance intra-trade activities in Africa and serve as a harbinger for commercial agriculture. This is because of the availability of a wider market space and the elimination of exchange rate fluctuations of currencies. In addition, agricultural transactions using the unified currency will open hinterlands in the continent, in what is known as development. Richard was excited and nodded in affirmation.

Going forward, I posed a question to Richard: do you know that the digital world is helping to revolutionize intra-trading through e-commerce?

I continued: 3e-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.

Africans have paid lip service to e-commerce because of looming illiteracy and absence of a unified formidable online platform for Africans to display their agricultural produce for trading amongst member state. Through e-commerce, agricultural transactions will create new business opportunities, improve food security, and increase participation in agricultural practices.

Although the challenges of e-commerce in Africa have created a stifling atmosphere and gapping chasm that have restricted intra-trade to traditional methods, I remain optimistic. My prognosis as an African leader will be strategized on restructuring our educational systems to accommodate online learning from the grassroots, and expanding agricultural curriculum to accommodate new advances. Furthermore, the establishment of a unified online platform or market for variety of agricultural produce to be displayed for trading within Africa. This will not only increase agricultural productions, but will improve Africa’s participation and recognition in the global digital circle.

I concluded by telling Richard that if Africans refuse to adapt to the momentous changes sweeping through the 21st century economy, they would inevitably ease themselves out of the system. Africans are not just demanding for a slice of the moon, they want an approach to unlock agricultural potentials in the continent. Establishment of formidable transportation networks, a unified currency system, and a unified agricultural e-commerce platform are my proposed solutions for promoting intra-trade to unlock Africa’s agricultural potentials.

1 See King James Version of the Bible: Matthew twelve verse twenty-five

2 See Intra-African Trade: A path to economic diversification and inclusion. Retrieved from

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brookings.edu/research/intra-african-trade-a-path-to-economic-diversification-and-inclusion/amp/?espv=1

(Accessed 1st July, 2020)

3See Business encyclopedia: What is E-commerce. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/encyclopedia/what-is-ecommerce