Reduction in Import Dependency is Key to Africa’s Industrialization – Kyerematen

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There is the urgent need for Africa to facilitate trade, industrialize and diversify its economy, Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has said.

He said for Africa to industrialize and diversify its economies, there is a need to pursue value addition for its exports and to systematically reduce its import dependency through import substitution. This, he said, requires structural reforms including trade facilitation measures that eliminate non-tariff barriers, reduce trade costs and ensure competitiveness for shippers and manufactures.

African countries, according to him also need to trade among themselves to derive benefits that boost economic growth and development of the continent, stressing that it is in this vein that in 2012, the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union agreed on a roadmap for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017.

Speaking at the 8th African Shippers Day held in Accra, he said, the main objective of the CFTA is to achieve a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among member States of African Union, noting that the scope of CFTA negotiations covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights and competitive policy.

In Ghana, he said, the aim of Government is to create a business friendly environment that enhances trade competitiveness and give a boost to manufacturing and industrialization. He adds that to this end the Government is implementing the Ten-Point Plan for industrial transformation.

Government, he said, is aware of the nexus between industrialization and trade facilitation, stressing that a facilitated trade that ensures efficiency at Ghana’s entry points is an important pre-requisite for sustained industrialization. Essential raw materials according to Mr. Kyerematen needed to be imported to support manufacturing and the finished products would have to be exported for maximum returns and therefore a facilitated trade environment enhances competitiveness for industries.

Mr. Kweku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister in charge of Transport, on his part said the theme for the 8th African Shippers Day, “Trade Facilitation and its Impact on Africa’s Industrialization” is most appropriate given the urgent need for the transformation of African economies from the export of raw materials to manufacturing and value added economies.

He said this is the crucial path for Africa if it is to realize its full potential in the process of industrialization, noting that Africa is endowed with enormous resources and there is the need to hasten the process of industriazation to enable Africans benefit fully from the resources available. This process of industrialization according to the Minister must be supported by the implementation of effective trade facilitation measures to transform the economies on the Continent and create jobs for the growing working youth and ultimately ensure an accelerated socio-economic growth of the Continent.

Ms. Benonita Bismark, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority in her delivery said her outfit was instrumental in instituting the African Shippers Day and hosted the maiden edition in 1999. The concept of the Shippers’ Day, she said was adopted by Union of African Shippers’ Council to primarily celebrate the efforts and achievements of importers and exporters in propelling trade and development in the sub-region. The event, she stated provides the platform for interaction among key players in the international trade and transport chain which includes shippers, ship owners, port authorities, freight forwarders, customs, multimodal transport operators and other ancillary service providers.

The event according to her affords these stakeholders an opportunity to deliberate on key issues that affect the maritime trade and transport sectors of their economies.

Source: Adovor Nutifafa ||

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