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One of the most prolific messages from the Nelson Mandela centenary lecture presented by Professor Patrick Lumumba was that Tata Madiba would have asked why African countries consume what they don't produce, and produce what they don't consume. He further made a point about coffee, cocoa, tea and other raw commodities that are exported by African countries, which then import expensive, high-value finished products derived from the same inputs they exported. Although Lumumba's point is valid and exposes a lack of processing capacity, there are countries such as SA, Mauritius and Kenya that have a fair amount of capacity. The main problem is that trade of some of those inputs does not end up on the continent due to infrastructure challenges and trade impediments. In a way, it seems that the continent is already attempting to address this challenge by increasing intra-Africa trade. A case in point is the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which seeks to ...

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