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Abdusalami suggests effective export trade terms by African countries

Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar(Middle) and other dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the International Sea Trade and Investment Convention in Lagos

A former Head of
State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Monday urged African countries to develop
strong and effective trade terms and contractual agreement on export matters.

Abubakar made the
plea in Lagos in a keynote address he delivered at the first International Sea
Trade Convention titled ‘Exploring New Trade Frontiers’.
He recommended
that Africa should develop export-based economies and stressed the need for
adequate transport logistic services and infrastructure.
The former head
of state also suggested effective inter-modal transport system for the
continent to optimise its potential, export value and earnings.
Abubakar called
for a properly-designed port system to sustain trade. 
He noted that
trade patterns in Africa had remained the same, an indication that there had
not been moves to push for the desired dynamism to grow trade in the continent.
 “Analysts’ observation is that trade patterns in Africa have remained virtually
the same, even after decades of independence from colonialism.
outbound cargo are still largely export commodities to the Western /Asian
countries, while inbound cargo consist of finished products from those foreign
trading partners.
He expressed
disappointment that the prevailing trading routes still remained along the
colonial relationships, such as Francophone/Luxophine and Anglophone African
Abubakar said
goods were still exported and imported by African countries from their respective
erstwhile European colonialists.
He noted that
intra and inter-trade between and within Africa countries had failed to develop
in tandem with economic growth recorded in the continent. 
The former head
of state, however, said financial system must support export trade to allow
easy transfer of funds and robust insurance/export guarantee schemes as
important factors for export trade.
Also speaking,
Chief Adebayo Sarumi, the Chairman, Convention Planning Committee, Chief
Adebayo Sarumi expressed concern about the design of Nigerian ports.
Sarumi said the
ports were not designed to support export, adding that there must be a reversal
of that pattern now that awareness of exports had hit the economy.
“Our ports have
been designed for imports only, without consideration for export, which is what
the economy needs for growth.
“Our ports are
designed to receive other peoples’ cargoes and not designed to take out
Nigerian cargo.
“The time has
come for Nigeria to be outward-looking. We have the inward looking already.
“I know there
are processes for trade and possibly, the first thing to do is import
“Then, when your
factory is able to produce well enough for local consumption and your farms are
able to give food security, you can begin to export,’’ Sarumi said.
He said that
Nigeria, and Africa generally, should learn from Turkey’s experience in order
to grow export trade.
The Executive
Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello, mentioned the need for
Nigeria to develop its export base or leave the economy to perish.
“For every
container that comes, it leaves here empty.
“We have laden
containers coming into Nigeria, but transported back empty and this affects
almost everything, including the cost of shipping. 
“It is very
important to diversify. It is necessary to do it and the way to do it is that
our economy must not be import-dependent,’’ Bello said.
The executive
secretary said Nigeria would only be a maritime nation when ships were owned by
indigenous owners, to help reduce the cost of freight.
He said that the
continent lacked export link as some items for export had to get to Spain first
before going to other African countries.

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