Xinhua/Zhu Zheng
Cape Town - Container shipping company Maersk said on Monday that the container sector was seeing an uptick in intra-Africa trade because most long-standing internal trade barriers were beginning to fall.

David Williams, chief executive of Maersk Line Africa, said the most recent progression in this regard was the increasing implementation of the one-stop border post concept across the continent. In this concept, two countries jointly operate a border crossing to remove the usual two-step process, simplifying the procedural requirements for intra-Africa trade.

Williams said that the steadfast progress in the container trade market over time across Africa was being recognised.

“Intra-Africa trade, which acts as a catalyst for growth across the continent, has seen an uptick over the past year - largely due to the recovery of the oil price.

"It is important to note how many African countries are still fundamentally oil-dependent, like Nigeria and Angola,” Williams said.

Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company, providing ocean transportation in all parts of the world and is part of AP Moller-Maersk, an integrated transport and logistics company.

Williams said increased foreign investment was beginning to reduce the dependency on oil for some of these countries.

“A prime example of this is the trend among Chinese tile exporters in shipping out their machinery to establish manufacturing plants in West Africa,” Williams said.

“As construction continues to gain momentum as a result of these projects, the companies will be looking to export these tiles from one African country to another, further boosting intra-regional trade.”

Williams said that the benefits which come with increased intra-Africa trade are vast and stretch far beyond just economic gain.

“In addition to diversifying the African economy to a greater extent, increased intra-regional trade results in the creation of better-quality employment and increased foreign investment, along with better bilateral trade - all of which will ultimately benefit the overall health of the continent and its people.”

Williams said that given the recent boost in intra-regional trade and the ripple effect of growth to be expected from this, the outlook for Africa remained optimistic.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY