ACP chief slams service industry’s poor growth rates in region


The African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) grouping of nations accounted for less than a two percent combined share of global services exports – a drop from three percent in 1975. <!--more-->In comparison, other developing countries have increased their share of global exports from 18 per cent in 1980 to almost 30 per cent in 2010.

“This dismal performance in services trade calls for urgent measures to enable the ACP States to increase their participation in world trade in services,” ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas said earlier this month.

He blamed high transportation and communication costs as a major setback, fuelled by ACP countries’ inherent weaknesses arising from low levels of development, high economic vulnerability due to smallness of population and/or income levels, and sea and land-lockedness that isolates them from main markets.

“Many ACP States endure high vulnerability owing to external economic and natural shocks, as well as weak institutional, regulatory and productive structures. Given such inherent constraints, promoting economic growth and development, particularly in service delivery remains a formidable challenge,” Dr Chambas said.

A study carried out by the ACP Secretariat with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) further shows that the ACP share in global services trade is dominated by a minority of countries – South Africa alone accounts for 20 per cent of total services exports, followed by Cuba and the Dominican Republic making up an additional 18 per cent.