This is utterly untrue. In a continent where collecting direct taxes is nigh on impossible – because people don’t earn enough and the infrastructure is not in place – tariffs are essential if revenue is to be raised. But Cameron wants them abolished.
Yes, abolish them, create an African free trade area.
More than that – Cameron knows (or he should know) o country has developed without the benefit of tariff barriers. It’s how infant industries develop. But off goes Cameron to demand the creation of the Washington Consensus’ dream in Africa – a continent left open to Western exploitation without tax being paid in any local country.
Ah, no, not quite understanding the point about free trade areas.
For example, we have one in the EU. Internal free trade but but not external free trade. That\’s what an African free trade area would be as well. Internal free trade to Africa and not external free trade.
It\’s piss all to do with laying the continent open to \”exploitation\” by Western firms and all about getting some division and specialisation of labour, some comparative advantage going, between the African economies.
The thing here is (although I do indeed think that external free trade is a good idea) that even if you do buy the infant industry story, the need to develop behind tariff barriers, there\’s still bugger all point in having such tariff barriers between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Ghana and Gabon. Given the sizes of these economies, no more point in them than between Somerset and Dorset or Savannah and Charleston.
No, really, I\’m serious: Somerset\’s gross value add is some £6.5 billion. Call it $10 billion. This is about the size of the economy of Guinea, larger than that of Mauritania, twice that of Sierra Leone, thrice that of Burundi.
Forget all the crap about westerners, of course they need free trade between each other, just as only an entirely moronic idiot (or the nef) would call for trade tariffs between Taunton and Dorchester.