A three-day Ghana Investment and Trade Week Summit under the auspices of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in partnership with MIE Group has opened in Accra with a call on businesses to take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for the continent to become the world's saviour in times of crisis.
Delivering a welcome address on the theme: Accelerating Economic Growth: Amplifying Ghana’s Global Market Footprint Through AfCFTA, the CEO of GIPC, Mr Yofi Grant stated that he described the gathering as a landmark summit which has brought together investors, traders, policymakers, exhibitors for economic and political prosperity of the continent of Africa.
According to him intra-trade among African countries has only achieved not more than 15 percent annually whiles intra-Africa investments which are mostly from North and Southern African countries is less than five percent.
Mr Yofi Grant stated that AfCFTA provides a golden opportunity to change the narrative for the better where small businesses on the continent can trade among themselves across borders.
"..But the AfCFTA without a doubt creates a very important but enormous opportunity to change those dynamics, but not just to change those dynamics but an opportunity for the African economies especially most of whom are dominated by SMEs and SMIs" Mr. Grant emphasised.
The free trade area he said is expected to increase intra-Africa trade by some 33 percent and reduce its trade deficit by 51 percent.
The GIPC Boss revealed that, Afreximbank and other Banks in Ghana have created a pan-African payment platform to enhance trade among businesses.
He explained that the payment system allows businesses to effect payment using the local currencies in their countries of location.
This he said will enhance job creation, especially among young people on the continent.
Mr. Yofi Grant said Africa is referred to as a wealthy nation but its people are not wealthy and predicted with great optimism that the continent which is a repository of not less than 40 percent of the world's remaining mineral resources, especially the transition minerals, will become the world's engine place and saviour in the next decade and charged all to help make this a reality.
"I have no doubt in my mind that Africa would save the world in the next decade'' he stated.
Ghana he said motivated by two factors namely goals one and seventeen of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which emphasizes poverty alleviation and global partnership for linkages in trade Most importantly for Ghana.
Hosting the Secretariat of AFCFTA he said provides an opportunity for Ghana to be the change it wants to see by ceasing the moment with all its advantages.
The country, he said, is pursuing notable policies such as the One District One Factory Ghana and working to improve its infrastructure including road and rail to enhance its competitiveness.
The summit is on the theme: Accelerating Economic Growth: Amplifying Ghana's Global Market Footprint Through AfCFTA.
Vice President of MIE Group, a key collaborator for the summit, Zahoor Ahmed assured of his outfit's commitment to help build bridges with key stakeholders for to bring global focus and enhance greater participation in future Ghana Investment Trade summits.
A representative of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industries, Emmanuel T. Martey in an address proposed the need for the adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for the delivery if the needed infrastructure for the country since the central government cannot do it alone.
He urged the need for extraordinary efforts to achieve excellence at the end of the summit with the development of a blueprint with actionable timelines to inform policy decisions.
Activities marking the three-day summit include Fireside discussion sessions with CEO of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Ambassador Edward Boateng and panel discussions on the Role of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in becoming economic superhighways, exhibitions among others.
The event was graced by the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Free Zones Authority, the Chief Executive Officer of SIGA, Ambassador Edward Boateng and the Pakistani Ambassador to Ghana.