Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia says Africa is open for business and committed to creating a more integrated, dynamic and prosperous continent through trade partnerships and investments.
He, therefore, urged African governments and businesses to work together to promote this unique potential to attract foreign investment and create sustainable partnerships that would benefit the continent and its international partners.
“Ghana is proud of being at the forefront in this network and we look forward to working amongst partners worldwide to create a more equitable and sustainable future,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia said this in a keynote address at the opening of the 53rd General Assembly of the World Trade Centres Association (WTCA) in Accra on Monday.
“Towards African Economic Integration and Enhanced Global Presence” is the theme for the five-day conference.
The World Trade Centre, Accra is hosting the event, which attracted more than 350 delegates worldwide including captains of industries, business executives, heads of government institutions and civil society organisations.
Ghana, thus, becomes the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to host the General Assembly of the WTCA, where participants would deliberate and explore trade and investments opportunities in Africa and foster partnerships.
Vice-President Bawumia commended the WTCA for launching an initiative called “Pivot to Africa” aimed at whipping up investment drive for the continent.
“It comes at a time Africa is experiencing significant economic growth and transformation with immense opportunities for investment and trade,” he said.
“The World Trade Centres Association recognises the enormous potential of the African market and the need to leverage it for their mutual growth.”
“Ghana is fully committed to supporting this initiative and working with the World Trade Centres Association to enhance African investment and trade.”
Vice President Bawumia called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders including governments, businesses and civil society to promote Africa’s unique potential to attract foreign investments and create sustainable partnerships.
Over the past six years, President Akufo-Addo unreservedly promoted a Ghana and Africa beyond aid, aimed at ensuring an integrated agenda of economic independence in Africa by leveraging its natural resources for global partnerships in the best interests of the people.
“Therefore, we should remain committed to free and fair trade and work together to create a level playing field for all,” Dr Bawumia said.
“It is imperative for Africa to invest in innovative technology to advance its competitiveness on the global market and drive economic growth.”
The Government had also established a strong foundation by leveraging on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and implementing the digitalisation agenda towards streamlining public processes and services and removing bottlenecks that impeded progress in almost all sectors of economy.
The creation of a unique identification for all Ghanaians by issuing of the Ghana-Card, mobile money interoperability payment system, which had enhanced financial inclusion, and roll-out of the digital property addressing system for easy location of properties are examples of the digitalisation drive.
Mr Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, indicated that any continent that ignored Africa’s trade potential did so at its own peril because “the continent is the future of the world’s economy.”
Through AfCFTA, Africa had taken concrete steps towards economic integration, he said, and cited the establishment of the Pan African Payments and Settlement System, which ensured that businesses could engage in cross-border transactions using a digital payment system.
He expressed optimism that Africa’s combined trade value would hit $16 trillion by 2050 in view of the various steps taken to integrate economically.
“The doors of the continent are open for business partnerships and investments for their mutual benefits.”
Mr John E. Drew, the Chairman of the World Trade Centres Association, said the world should add value to Africa’s economic opportunities to ensure growth and prosperity for all.
He assured that the WTCA would work closely with Africa productively and co-operatively to advance their cause.
He entreated the participants to build strong networks and establish business partnerships towards achieving the objectives of the conference.
Togbe Afede XIV, the Executive Chairman, World Trade Centre, Accra, in his welcome address, said Africa’s three billion population was a great asset and its 20 per cent coverage of the world’s land mass provided a fertile ground to feed the world.
The mineral wealth and arable land was a launching pad for the world’s food security and economic transformation.
He expressed confidence that with the integration process progressing steadily, Africa would soon increase its current two and three per cent global trade and gross domestic product to a reasonable level.