The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, has reiterated the need for African countries to consolidate resources to invest in the requisite infrastructure to support the Free Continental Trade.
Speaking on Eye on Port, the Secretary General of ICC Ghana, proposed that these resources should be directed into investments in areas such as transport and energy to provide the necessary springboard the trade would thrive on.
He explained that intra-African investment will solve one of the key non-tariff barriers associated with the success of AfCFTA which is the lack of infrastructure.
“We have a lot of resources. We have uranium in countries like Niger, so if we have to invest in nuclear facilities to provide electricity, it’s there. In the DRC, we have the Congo River, we can develop a hydro-electric dam,” he cited.
He said while many countries like Ghana have been able to make investments in port infrastructure, the attention needs to be moved towards world class intermodal transport systems like road and rail.
“As a country we have initiated the railway networks, as well as get foreign direct investment for the assemblage of vehicles. These are the kind of investments that we need to attract among ourselves.”
Mr. Doni Kwame also opined that collaboration into infrastructural developments would do away with the disputes arising from cross border investments like that of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd).
“If Africans can pull together resources and develop such infrastructure together, so that the benefits are felt in the continent, then countries won’t see themselves as individual states that need to benefit at the expense of others,” he said.
The Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce also opined that, with intra-African trade still low, it is important for retailers and suppliers to collaborate in order to boost demand for Africa-originating products.
He said, “in this way people should be assured of not only price, as a result of the duty elimination but also quality, which I know a lot of work is being done on harmonization of standards to ensure our quality matches up with those from other parts of the world.”
He said as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, events such as trade fairs and meetings of business associations that can enhance opportunities for collaborations have declined, nonetheless African traders should make efforts to drive demand.
Mr. Doni-Kwame continued to acknowledge the pandemic’s impact on the trade as a whole, as the free movement of people and services has been severally impaired as a result.