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11.02.2005 Business & Finance

Improve access to markets essential for poverty reduction - Apraku

By GhanaWeb Correspondent
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Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - Enhanced trade with the developed countries is the surest way for African economies to engender growth and development and reduce poverty, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, MP for Ofinso North said on Thursday.

Speaking at the launch of the Anglo-Africa Business and Trade Exhibition 2005, Dr Apraku said while Africa appreciated bilateral and multilateral donor support, the best assistance for the continent's development was improved access to international markets for its goods. "Thus, removing the artificial, qualitative as well as quantitative barriers to trade is what we need most," Dr Apraku said.

The Anglo-African Business and Trade Exhibition, which will be held in London between 29 and 31 July this year, seeks to promote Africa as an attractive destination for trade and investment. Africa Week, a magazine and the Africa Initiative UK, a private sector organisation, are organizing the exhibition on the theme: "Africa untapped reserve for trade and investment opportunities." Discussion at the conference will focus on banking and finance, aviation mining among others.

Dr Apraku urged African countries to devote more efforts to building capacity for trade negotiations, especially the economic partnership agreement with the European Union and the Doha Round of trade negotiations. African governments must also take greater responsibility to facilitate effective participation of their business community in important trade exhibitions and provide more trade financing for their exporters, he said.

Mr Kwadwo Afram-Asiedu, Acting Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said limited supply of traditional commodities and slow pace of diversification in the economy were some of the factors contributing to declining shares in world trade. He stressed investment of trading partners in services that would enhance productivity to correct the imbalances that played against efforts at industrialization.

Mr Bernard Otabil, Director of Communications and Public Affairs of the Anglo-African Business and Trade Exhibition, said building the capacity for Africa's development was crucial for the continent's development. He said the exhibition was born out of a shared vision by the organizers to present the opportunities on the continent to investors worldwide.

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