Business News of 2014-04-04

Prez Mahama calls for more investment in agric

President John Mahama has called on West African countries to invest more in agriculture to ensure food security in the sub-region. He said the fact that population in West Africa could increase from the current 300 million to 450 million by 2050, presented nations of the sub-region with the challenge to channel more resources into the sector to meet growing demands.

The President gave the advice at the working session of the European Union (EU)-Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday. He said such an investment must go into modernisation of agriculture.

President Mahama further underscored the need to ensure that in the process of modernisation, West African countries needed not “provoke a dislocation of the mass of our rural population that could then trigger increased rural-urban drift.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he said, had created a common agricultural development programme even though individual countries were implementing their national agricultural investment programmes.

Areas of investment

President Mahama stated that West Africa had natural and human resources in abundance, and that what it needed were partnerships and investment.

Key areas of interest in investment, Mr Mahama said, were in infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism and energy.

The ECOWAS, the President said, was concluding negotiations with the EU on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and as the Chairman of ECOWAS , he could count on the EU to realise the dreams of West Africans.

The Youth

President Mahama said the teeming youth of the sub-region presented opportunities for their nations to reap maximum benefits from their energies if properly harnessed “or it could pose danger if we don’t plan properly for it.

“That is why the concept of prosperity and the creation of wealth are of utmost importance in West Africa,” Mr Mahama added.

Fast growing region

As one of the fastest growing regions of Africa in terms of economic growth, West Africa, the ECOWAS Chairman said, needed partnerships with its friends in order to take full advantage of the opportunities.

“Growth in GDP averaging 6-7 per cent is creating opportunity for bilateral partnership and public-private partnerships, “Mr Mahama stated.

With the rich potentials of the sub-region, he said, “Our region provides the resources to build a decent and dignified life for every one of our people.

“We in ECOWAS will continue to work to create an even better enabling environment to attract foreign investment from the EU and other parts of the world,” Mr Mahama said.

The President expressed satisfaction with the continued strong bond of relations between the EU and Africa.