Yesterday, President Akufo-Addo opened the two-day national conference on AfCFTA’s implementation where he affirmed government’s commitment to assist Ghanaian businesses take full advantage of AfCFTA, by ensuring that the required financial and human resources are mobilised and deployed to make the country a trading hub.
He therefore charged businesses to be the new frontline actors in the impending economic journey.
President Akufo-Addo expressed optimism that Ghana is in pole-position to benefit immensely from the new continental trade pact, because upon assuming the reins of power in 2017 his government instituted innovative and strategic interventions such as the 1D1F programme with the construction of industries, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ and the pharmaceutical industry leveraging.
The president was left in no doubt that the free trade agreement holds the key to the continent’s economic dreams, hence his desire to see Ghanaian businesses profit from the endeavour.
President Akufo-Addo minced no words when he stated: “We owe it to generations unborn to ensure that the world’s largest trading bloc – whose outcomes will be rewarding to all Africans, and to which will assist in attaining the Africa we all want – does not falter”.
Thus, the importance of AfCFTA cannot be downplayed; and it is important that where the secretariat is hosted does not become a mere spectator but is an active participant in all that it holds. That is why the president was so passionate that Ghanaian enterprises are not left behind, and has thrown government’s full weight behind indigenous businesses to ensure they excel by profiting greatly from the trade deal.
The Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD), which focuses on developing six tree crops as crops for export, is another good footing to leverage from AfCFTA if executed optimally.
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority should be able to play a crucial role in that respect, and its new National Export Development Strategy should serve as the appropriate framework to actualise the nation’s export trade goals.
As earlier stated, the timelines for AfCFTA’s implementation remain unchanged – and it is therefore important for the country to convene such deliberations to prepare for the full take-off of AfCFTA come January 2021.
No doubt, the AfCFTA secretariat has to swiftly address all the complexities that will accompany the full implementation of world’s largest free trade bloc, so that the millions of the continent’s sons and daughters can be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Burying differences has allowed for salt development in Ada
The Ada Traditional Council appears to have jettisoned the differences among them, paving the way for exploitation of the large salt deposits in the area.
Hence, the Minerals Commission is about to implement its salt exploration master-plan for the economic growth and prosperity of people in the enclave.
Disagreements among the various chiefs in the enclave as to actual and perceived boundaries have been a major factor hindering the development of salt exploration for industrial purposes, leaving the communities impoverished and feuding.
The area is reputed to hold around 34,775 acres of lagoon basin, which is estimated to have the potential for large-scale salt mining. Consequently, the Minerals Commission is encouraged that the feuding chiefs have put their differences aside and decided to work with the state to exploit the large deposits of salt in the enclave, and that is a positive signal for the chiefs and people of Ada.
Government has identified salt as one of the strategic minerals that can facilitate socio-economic development of the area, since its by-products can be used for industries – such as caustic soda and chlor-alkaline.
It is quite a relief that factions in the boundary dispute have smoked the peace-pipe and communicated same to the Minerals Commission to commence the process of issuing licences for potential investors to begin exploitation of the salt deposits whicg can be found in commercial quantities in the vicinity.
When the mineral is exploited, it will provide job openings for the teeming unemployed youth in the area to take advantage of and bring revenue for the area’s development. Government’s 1D1F programme will be ideal for the aforementioned industries, and the people must set aside all their differences before investors can commit to establishing such industries which will benefit the indigenes of Ada and its surrounding towns and villages.
Sometimes, chieftaincy disputes can be counter-productive since they prevent any meaningful development from taking place in the disputed areas. It is high time for our traditional authorities to bury the hatchet and allow development to take place so that their citizens can benefit from such investments.
We are happy that the Traditional Council, after burying their differences, approached the Minerals Commission to express their desire to cooperate with them so as to see development in their traditional area. Kudos to the Ada Traditional Council for this exemplary attitude.