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18.04.2007 General News

Africa Integration Can Create More Jobs • Says Ohene Konadu

A Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and the President's Special Initiatives (PSIs), Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, has said that the integration of African economies through trade and investment has the potential to generate employment and ensure the development of African countries.

Speaking at the first Ghana-Zimbabwe Trade, Tourism and Investment Promotion Seminar and Zimbabwe Exporters Exhibition in Accra yesterday, Mrs Konadu called for the translation of the long-standing relationship between the two countries into trade and investment for their mutual benefit.

The minister underscored the importance of intra-African trade and investment to the development of African economies and recalled that Ghana had had a long-standing political relationship with Zimbabwe, dating back many years, which she said should be translated into a high economic platform for trade and investments.

Mrs Konadu said over the past five years Ghana had become the investment hub of the sub-region and urged the Zimbabwean delegation to explore all the sectors of the economy and also join forces with their Ghanaian counterparts to establish businesses in the country.

The minister expressed the hope that the platform created by the seminar would further open the country's export products to Zimbabwe as part of the government's strategy to expand market access for the country's export products.

The Zimbabwean Deputy Minister of Trade and International Trade, Mr Phinehas C. Chiota, called for strong bilateral co-operation between the two countries, which would be of mutual benefit to them.

He said his government had established the Zimbabwe Investment Authority in a bid to redirect its efforts to turn that country's economy around, with emphasis on intra-African trade.

He highlighted a number of possible collaboration between the two countries, including mining, energy, agro-processing, textile and tobacco.

The Zimbabwean Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs P.T. Musaka, reiterated an earlier call for the two countries to trade with each other, saying, “This is the way to ensure the economic growth and development of the two countries.”

The First Vice-President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Nana Owusu Afari, who was the chairman for the occasion, announced that the AGI had embarked upon solo exhibitions within the sub-region as part of efforts to expand its market access.

He said the association looked forward to collaborating with its Zimbabwean counterpart to deepen economic co-operation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

The two-day seminar attracted both Ghanaian and Zimbabwean private sector participants and government officials.

They are discussing possible ways of collaboration in the areas of mining, agro-processing, energy, the services industry, Information Technology, among others.

Story by Boahene Asamoah