File Photo: IOL
ADDIS ABABA –The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Sunday urged investors from non-African countries to play " very important role" in accelerating intra-Africa trade. 

"Foreign investors have potentially a very important role to play in accelerating the emergence of regional value-chains and in increasing volumes of intra-regional trade," the ECA said in a statement on Sunday. 

Noting the huge potential of intra-Africa trade for companies outside the continent, ECA's director for the east Africa region Andrew Mold said that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) offers a positive impetus for trade in Africa once the continental pact enters into force in the near future. 

"The AfCFTA could help strengthen regional production systems and support the integration of regional economic communities (RECs)," Mold said. The AfCFTA, as an integrated continental market, is expected to provide Africa with a strengthened voice of 1.2 billion people in future negotiations with other countries and regional blocks.