African countries could insulate themselves from the devastating effect of the current global economic crisis on her economies if she fostered greater trade relationship and corporation within the sub region. The Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana HE Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has said.
“If our economies were to largely depend internally within the sub-region, the effect of the impact of the meltdown would not be as heavy as it is. That is the more reason why we must encourage internal trading and internal corporation within the sub-region.”
The Ambassador, who spoke to The Chronicle in an interview indicated that there were a lot of opportunities that countries in the sub-region could harness to wean itself from the over dependence on the Western economies.
He cited Ghana, for example, which produces cocoa in great quantities but lacked the capacity to process even a quarter of what it produces. This he said calls for the need to build a regional capacity to enable countries in the sub region process to address the challenges of industry and solve pertinent problems which deter these countries from maximizing from the trade and business opportunities that abound on the continent.
“To the extent that today the processing of cocoa is limited to the Western world is an indication of our limitation and also gives the extent to which we can improve as a people business-wise.”
He indicated further that the cocoa industry alone offers many business opportunities and has the tendency to create millions of jobs, “but we are being prevented from doing this by the European Union because they see this as threat to their own national economies,” he added.
He said as long as the continent continue to depend largely on the Western economies for most of her consumption needs, the continent would definitely remain subservient to the West .
He indicated that Nigeria was the 6th largest foreign investor in Ghana, injecting close to a billion dollars of investments into the Ghanaian economy and thus called for all to support the growth relationship, and not to strain the good relationship that has existed between the two countries.
He said there was huge proximity and synergy opportunities in strengthening trade ties between the two countries to help bridge the massive funding gap needed for infrastructure in both countries,
He made this appeal against the backdrop of recent perception created among public circles which suggest that Nigerians were criminals.
On Ghana's oil find he advised the government of Ghana to plan to ensure that her oil find does not become an albatross on her, as is the case in Nigeria.
He said oil revenue should be directed to the productive sectors of the economy to help better the living conditions of the citizenry. .
He indicted that Nigeria has an open door to support Ghana in any capacity in its quest to make its oil find a blessing.