2010 Tutu Fellow Lerato Mataboge delivered a TEDx Lyttleton Women Talk on the necessity and urgency for African countries to trade among themselves as a way to address economic challenges and recover from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Titled, Why Intra-Africa Trade Matters, she says that African countries not only need to trade among themselves as a way to address economic challenges and undo colonial patterns of consumption and distribution, they need to begin doing so with a sense of urgency. This type of trade can play a key role in helping the continent recover from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She begins her talk about vanilla, the bulk of which in the global market is grown in Madagascar. Madagascar exports it and when it comes back to the continent, it costs so much more. Africa trading away its resources must change, she says, and the continent must begin adding value before exports occur so as to retain the value at home.
Lerato is the Deputy Director-General for Export Promotion, Development and Outward Investments (EPD&IO) in the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. In this role, she provides strategic support and advice to the departmental leadership and the presidency on engaging global stakeholders to achieve economic goals. In her TED talk, she says that by expanding continental trade, Africa can begin the process of adding value locally and break patterns of trade that were established during colonial times. While there are barriers to intra-African trade, such as transportation infrastructure, none of them are insurmountable.
You can watch the full talk below: