Creation of economic zones in African countries key – MPS CEO


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services (MPS), Mohamed Samara, has urged investors to consider creating economic zones in various African countries to ensure the elimination of trade barriers.

According to him, one area that has potential to deliver value for investors and economies on the continent is that of special economic zones, especially within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA.

Although he said AfCFTA has a role to play toward achieving the goal of a single market, he said businesses, most importantly, must make an extra effort to achieve a common and integrated continental market.

Mr. Samara made the call when members of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Trade Facilitation Team paid a visit to the Management of Meridian Port Services Ltd (MPS) in Tema.

“Our vision – summarised in our tagline ‘we connect, you thrive’ – is to see the economy of Africa unlocked to allow it trade within itself. MPS is driving connectivity and creating a hub, such as what is found in Malaysia and Morocco.

“The impact of such connectivity is not only on the port itself but the trade zones that will emerge behind the port, and I believe AfCFTA has a key role to play in ensuring this is realised. There is a huge market that is waiting to be served, and we encourage investors to also take advantage of the benefits,” he said.

The visit was to, among other things, provide further insight into MPS’s role as a regional trade facilitation hub.

The Trade Facilitation Team, led by a Senior Advisor on Customs, Madam Demitta Gyang, was received by the CEO of MPS Mr. Samara – who shared with the Team MPS’ investment into Tema Port.

He outlined key characteristics that make Port Tema stand out as the port of choice for the sub-region.

Mr. Samara indicated that: “From the onset, MPS shareholders have committed to investing into the port facility, upgrading it into a world-class container terminal and a major game-player in trade”.

“As we are all aware, trade of any nature cannot happen without the requisite infrastructure; MPS therefore took a giant leap into the future to construct a new entrance channel and harbour basin – which is one of the deepest that we have in Africa, with a depth of 18 metres allowing vessels with 16 metres draft to dock.

“For this terminal, the world’s biggest vessels will be able to enter; and as such we are secured for the coming years,” he added.

Madam Gyang, commended MPS for actions taken to promote the ease of doing business, stating: “We are happy to see such infrastructure established. We at AfCFTA are looking at ways to increase efficiency of the port and ensure trade barriers are removed. We have planned visits to Lomè Port to inspect their infrastructure, and we assure you that we will continue to strengthen engagements with stakeholders like MPS to see to the fulfilment of AfCFTA objectives”.


The Assembly of the African Union (AU) has recognised 2023 as the year of accelerated implementation of the AfCFTA.

The African Continental Free Trade Area aims to create a single market for intra-regional trade in goods and services, representing more than 1.26 billion people, and a gross domestic product of US$3.14trillion. The Agreement contains trade facilitation measures tailor-made to the African context and aimed to make import, export and transit procedures more efficient.

It has identified the need to prioritise trade-related infrastructure along with implementation of the AfCFTA for the continent to achieve optimal benefits from the single continental market agreement.

Port infrastructure like MPS Terminal 3 therefore plays a critical role in reducing trade costs and enhancing competitiveness, which promotes intra-regional trade.

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