Time to focus on intra-Africa trade – Ahomka-Lindsay

Deputy Trade Minister, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay

Deputy Trade Minister, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, has said the potential that trade among African countries brings is so enormous – indicating that it is one area the Ghanaian government would duly exploit as it moves the economy beyond foreign aid.

Speaking at the opening of the Kenya-Trade Expo Ghana 2017 in Accra, Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay said African leaders must demonstrate greater commitment to creating a single continental market which will allow intra-Africa trade to flourish.

He said trade flows between Ghana and Kenya, for example, which is barely US$8 million, is inadequate, and needs scaling up.

According to Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Integration, trade flows from Kenya to Ghana was worth about $5.3 million in 2016, while Ghana’s exports to Kenya stood at $2 million.

Pursuing regional integration

According to him, among the things the leaders of the continent must consider as part of efforts to promote intra-Africa trade are: addressing the infrastructure needs of Africa, reducing trade barriers, lowering transaction cost for businesses, harmonising policies as well as improving Africa’s way of doing business with the rest of the world.

“Ensuring that regional integration succeeds in Africa is a daunting task, yet surmountable if African leaders, policymakers, and relevant stakeholders give this noble dream of creating a single market the first push to see its success in our time,” he said.

The four-day event, which is on theme: “Breaking New Frontiers in Intra-Africa trade,” is expected to create new opportunities and partnerships for businesses of both countries.

The Trade Expo is targeting established and emerging businessmen and is aimed at enhancing trade relations between Kenya and Ghana following seven key trade agreements signed between the two countries in December 2014.

The model for the Kenya Trade Expo Ghana 2017 is to develop an engaging agenda of building partnerships between government and the private sectors.

The first Kenya Trade Expo in Ghana took place in 2015, attracting over 2,000 emerging and established business people, as well as government and non-government officials.

“We are gratified to have triggered the process of mapping a way forward between Ghana and Kenya with regards to activating preexisting bilateral agreements. A joint technical committee on this matter will have its first meeting in 2018,” the organisers said.

Participants from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, Namibia, Sudan, Europe and North America are attending the programme, which ends on November 4, 2017, at the Labadi Beach Hotel.

By Richard Annerquaye Abbey l thebftonline.com l Ghana





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