PUBLISHED ON January 26th, 2024

Prioritise transportation to boost intra-Africa trade – Akufo-Addo tells African leaders

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on his fellow African leaders to prioritise the devel­opment of efficient transportation and logistics infrastructure that will help boost intra-Africa trade.

He said it was only through an efficient transportation and logistics infrastructure, streamlined trade processes and digital technologies that the continent could unlock its trade potential for prosperity for all.

“To unlock the potential of trade for prosperity, let us prioritise the development of efficient transpor­tation and logistics infrastructure, streamlined trade processes and embrace digital technologies that facilitate cross-border transactions without the need to depend on out­side currency,” he emphasised.

President Akufo-Addo made the call when he opened the three-day Africa Prosperity Dialogue (APD) taking place at Peduase in the Akuapem South Municipality of the Eastern Region.

The event, which is also the second edition, is being organised by the Africa Prosperity Network and is on the theme: ‘Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade.’

It is being attended by captains of industry on the continent, policy makers, development partners, financial institutions, traders from across the continent and a number of heads of state.

President Akufo-Addo lament­ed the low trade among African countries, adding that “intra-African trade is one of the lowest in any region globally and this is largely due to the colonial economic model characterised by small individual economies, fragmented and discon­nected regional markets, over-re­liance on the export of primary commodities and the presence of low productive capacity, which has been in existence for well over a century.”

He said by fostering intra-Af­rica trade, the AfCFTA would be able to ensure that it continued to create opportunities for business­es to expand beyond their borders, drive economic growth, and create a more integrated and intercon­nected continent.

Touching on the APD, he said dialogues like it must emphasise the need for Africa to go heavy on the promotion of sustainable farming practices coupled with targeted investment in infrastruc­ture for innovation and technolo­gy, especially in agribusiness and industry, to boost production.

Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo called for the dia­logues to examine critically the responsibilities and expectations of the private sector and demand same of the public sector and assess how both could work to­gether as partners to achieve what Africa desired.

He said “as we delve into delivering prosperity in Africa (in relation to) Produce, Add Value, Trade, the theme of this year’s di­alogue, let us embark on a journey that goes beyond rhetoric, tran­scending dialogue into actionable plans for transformative change.”

For his part, the former Pres­ident of Mozambique, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, said the APD represented the fruits of the dreams of all the founding fathers of the Africa Union.

The Secretary General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, said the APD offered an opportunity for Africa to tell its own story, narrate its own challenges and also its opportunities.

He said the theme for this year’s event was more than apt because the AfCFTA was precisely the instrument to deliver prosperity in produce, add value and promote trade.

Mr Mene said over the last three-and-a-half years that the AfCFTA Secretariat had been in Ghana, it had recorded tremen­dous success in ensuring that the vision of the founding fathers became a reality.

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