Kyerematen opens African Engineering Conference in Accra

Kyerematen opens African Engineering Conference in Accra

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen, has opened the 7th edition of Africa Engineering Week and the 5th Africa Engineering Conference in Accra with a call on engineers in African to position themselves to leverage the opportunities which implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) present.

Mr.  Kyerematen outlined three major strategic areas for the engineers to develop their capabilities in order to gain benefits from the single African market.

The areas include engineering services related to production, and the installation of production infrastructure, trade-related infrastructure and trade in services.

Hosted by the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), the four-day event also coincides with the 5th Africa Engineering Conference.

It is in collaboration with the Federation of African Engineering Organisation, the World Federation of Engineering Organisation and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is on the theme ‘Engineering, Inter-African Trade and the Sustainable Development Goals’. 

Key among the issues to be discussed are goods and services, capacity building for trade, trade integration and interconnectivity, women and young engineers in trade, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Infrastructure and Intellectual property rights.

The minister said for any country to harness the benefits of AfCFTA, they have to produce goods which can be traded or sold to other African countries. He added that without production or value addition, there can be no AfCFTA.

The President of the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO), Mrs. Carlien Bou-Chedid, in her remarks said in order to facilitate trade across borders, there is a need for engineers to be provided with critical infrastructure including good roads, rail, air transport, and digital infrastructure among others.

She added that Engineering will obviously play a critical role in implementing the AfCFTA, and FAEO is uniquely positioned to deliver on what is required to ensure its success. She urged her colleague engineers across the African continent to be recognised and raised to high levels of competence to deliver world-class products.

She noted that for far too long, the continent has depended on products and services from other continents despite the skill-sets available in Africa.  She continued that it is high time Africa took full advantage of the knowledge, skills and products available within it to develop the whole of Africa.

Mrs. Bou-Chedid added that although AfCFTA is a potential game-changer, there is more work to be done on enabling engineers to tap into its prospects – adding that there is a need to reduce barriers to trade in engineering goods and services by harmonising codes and standards.

The President of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Rev. Prof. Charles Anum Adams, said in spite of some success in eliminating tariffs within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented; a situation that has the tendency to undermine free trade within the continent.

He added that the non-tariffs and regulatory barriers increase transaction cost and limits the movement of goods and services within the continent.

He said by imposing unnecessary fees on exporters, these barriers raise prices for consumers, undermine predictability of the trade regime and reduce investment in the region. He advocated that government should create opportunities for all, to attract young people to consider Engineering as a vocation and profession.

Fraternity messages were delivered by UNESCO representative in Ghana & Head office in Accra, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo; and Prof.  Dr. Gong Ke, President of World Federation of Engineering Organisation, and the Ministry of Works and Housing.

The programme was chaired by the immediate past President of FAEO, Eng. Martin Manuhwa. The conference was called to order by the Executive Director of Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Ing. David Kwatia Nyante.

At the plenary sessions, presentations were done on various topics by Engineers from different parts of Africa and the world on the chosen theme. Ing. Alexander Leslie Ayeh, President of West African Federation of Engineering Organisation (WAFEO), made a presentation on the topic ‘Aviation, the game-changer in the transformation of the African Economy’, to the admiration of participants.


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