STRATEGIC commitment and key partnerships to promote trade between Africa and Asia are needed in achieving sustainable economic benefits, says Standard Chartered bank chief executive officer for regional, Africa and Middle East Sunil Kaushal.
Mr Kaushal said there must be new determination to turn around the varying levels of conditions ranging from infrastructure to red-tape challenges that persist for growth to be sustainable.
He said investing in Africa presented diverse challenges and required strategic commitment and local insight to ensure success.
“Africa-Asia trade patterns also reveal the trade imbalance where investment flow is in one direction – from Asia to Africa. In order to achieve sustainable economic benefits, there is need for strategic commitment and key partnerships,” he said.
Mr Kaushal said while the long-term investment potential of Africa looked promising, the near-term landscape for Africa-Asia trade presented many challenges.
He, however, said the relationship between Asia and Africa had grown exponentially over the last decade.
“China has materially invested into Africa. Japan too has shown its interest in ramping up African investments and will be hosting the Tokyo International Conference on African Development for the first time in the African continent.
“This will focus on ways to improve Africa’s health system. Opportunities for other Asian countries to participate in and support Africa’s growth will continue to evolve,” he said.
Mr Kaushal explained that trade partnership diversification between two continents could prove to be prudent in the long-term and Africa was likely to look increasingly to the East for investment and expertise following the Brexit decision.
“In the wake of European growth uncertainties following the Brexit decision, this trade partnership diversification and closer ties with Asia, could prove to be prudent in the long-term and Africa is likely to look increasingly to the East for investment and expertise.
“China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is designed to promote the connectivity of the Asian, European and African continents and their seas to enhance trade linkage,” he said.