Ramaphosa calls for closer Asian ties

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates at the Asia-Africa Business Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday that Afro-Asian economic and cultural ties needed to be strengthened.

Ramaphosa said Asia and Africa could collaborate in a number of areas, such as agriculture, News24 reported.

“Because of the diversity of crops cultivated on the continent, Africa has the potential to increase the nutritional value of global food supply more than any other region in the world.

“However, for African farmers to benefit fully from their contribution to global food supply, they need to be more involved in the food value chain – from seed to market.”

Another area for greater collaboration is manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is vitally important to Africa’s economic future as it can contribute substantially to improving growth, reducing unemployment and addressing balance of payment issues.

“With a market of close to 900 million people, Africa has the capacity to become a manufacturing success.”

Africa’s ability to trade is hampered by a lack of physical infrastructure, he said.

“Many African countries – without adequate rail, road and port infrastructure – are unable to productively exploit their abundant natural resources.

“Asian countries – with their skills, capital and technical and engineering expertise – can partner with African countries in developing this critical area.

“Infrastructure development is crucial to the success of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement, both to connect markets and to generate enough electricity to support the development of manufacturing and other sectors.

“By strengthening South-South cooperation, we can begin a new era in global trade – one that will be driven and sustained by two of the world’s fastest-growing regions,” said Ramaphosa.