Only a small fraction of African goods are sold to other African countries. Less than 14 percent of African trade takes place within Africa. In comparison, more than 60 per cent of goods are traded within the European Union (EU).
Most African countries export primarily unprocessed raw materials such as mineral resources, oil and agricultural products to other continents. But this does not contribute to job creation and their economies have been weakened by the presence of major outside customers such as China.
A lack of proper storage facilities, damaged roads and encounters with excessive bureaucracy at state borders means that at least 40 percent of food in Africa is going to waste, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In 2015, only five percent of African grain imports came from other African countries.
The cost of intra-continental trade in Africa is 50 percent higher than in East Asia. The average truck driver delivering goods across the border to supermarkets in southern Africa would need to carry up to 1,600 documents. In addition, delays at the border can end up costing thousands of euros.