The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), in partnership with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), this week launched the 2021 edition of its annual Industry and Quality Awards. The launch, which was held in a hybrid fashion – in-person and virtually – brought together key stakeholders in trade and industry, quality control, and marketing, amongst others.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, in a keynote address read on his behalf by Chief Technical Officer at MoTI, Dr. John-Hawkins Asiedu, stated that the theme for this year’s edition: ‘Repositioning the Local Industry to Leverage AfCFTA’, was most appropriate, particularly in light of government’s commitment to assist industry to harness and derive maximum benefits under the trade arrangement.
He added, in a note of caution to stakeholders, that the benefits from AfCFTA would not be obtained on a silver platter, as it will require concerted efforts by all concerned. “The benefits of the single African market will not materialise automatically as it would require conscious interventions to allow each country to reap the full benefits,” he said.
He therefore called on the AGI and its affiliates to seek ways of improving the application of technology to drive productivity; partner to mobilise resources and encourage the consumption of locally made products.
The Minister added that in the face of rising competition, businesses must ensure they attain the highest standards of quality. This, he noted, will come with tough measures such as overhauling of management approaches and production methods.
Taking his turn, President of AGI, Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi, in a speech similarly read on his behalf by the CEO of the Association, Seth Twum Akwaboah said the theme was chosen against the backdrop of the change in the global and local trade landscape, following the devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic and the opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
Whilst commending government for its role in ensuring Ghana plays host to the AfCFTA Secretariat, as well as the proposed industry-focused support from the impending Development Bank, he called for the government to prioritise its interventions to support industry further.
“Even though the number of government programmes to support Industry are commendable, we believe the timelines of the interventions make a big difference in resuscitating local businesses. I therefore urge government to expedite action of its Obaatanpa CARES programmes to propel us to leverage the opportunities in the AfCFTA. We are anxious to see how these initiatives can inure to building local capacity for export diversification in a competitive manner,” he stated.
For the Director General at GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo, the continuous participation of his outfit in the AGI-organised award scheme since 2017 is testament to the standards the Association adheres to across all its operations. “This partnership was done with the view that we will be able to elevate quality as the key requirement for giving the AGI awards,” he said.
On her part, Chairperson of the awards planning committee, Nora Bannerman-Abbott revealed that this year’s edition will include a newly instituted award category – the Dr. Esther Ocloo Award; named after the Association’s first president and renowned industrialist, Dr. Esther Ocloo. This, she noted, will be in addition to other awards under seven major categories and 23 sectors.