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Africa needs solution driven initiatives to prosper - Dr Bawumia

13409303 Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 Source: GNA

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged African political and business leaders to develop solution-driven initiatives to deepen intra-continental trade.

That, he said, would be critical to transforming Africa from an import-driven continent to one with increased intra-trade for the prosperity of countries and citizens.

Vice President Bawumia said this at the opening of the maiden Africa Prosperity Summit (Kwahu summit) at Adukrom in the Eastern Region on Thursday.

The summit, which has attracted many high-profile business executives from across the continent, aims to achieve a deeper economic integration between African states to make the continent self-reliant.

Dr Bawumia said Africa ought to change the narrative of being a poor and underdeveloped continent, proposing three priority areas to transition countries to prosperity.

These three priority areas include smart investment in critical infrastructure, unleashing the continent’s productive capacities to make Africa an industrial zone and the mobilization of finance and investment.

On investment, Dr Bawumia said there was a need for increased funds in the road, rail, energy, and digital infrastructure, as well as data centres to facilitate the digital transformation and financial infrastructure for the integration of markets.

“As a continent, we need to produce and trade our way out of poverty and underdevelopment, and we cannot do that without investing in smart infrastructure,” he said, noting that such a move would be critical to delivering the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA is expected to boost the continent’s income to some $450 billion by 2035 and lift about 30 million people from extreme poverty.

Dr Bawumia said the AfCFTA was a real game changer and “once fully realized, we can increase intra-Africa trade by some $35 billion and reduce external imports by some $10 billion annually.”

He urged governments and businesses on the continent to implement concrete strategic actions through the right mix of policies and greater sense of purpose for more robust intra-African trade to support economic diversification.

The Vice-President also called for the creation of platforms for knowledge brokerage and access to information on critical products and services.

This will allow some 445 million small businesses across the continent to plug into the value chains of mega industries to leapfrog Africa’s industrialisation and socio-economic development.

Dr Bawumia noted that Africa’s need for $270 billion annually to bridge its infrastructure gap to generate sustainable growth at five per cent per annum, presented opportunities for private sector investment.

“As key stakeholders, we must consolidate the successes so far with a sense of urgency, develop the signature solutions needed to deepen intra-Africa trade and spur impactful investments needed and we must do this with fearless determination,” he said.

Mr Wamkele Mane, the Secretary General of AfCFTA, said Africa must accelerate trade in agriculture by reducing and eliminating both tariff and non-tariff barriers that restrict the movement of agricultural products.

He said the Secretariat had established the necessary legal instruments required for traders, exporters, and economic operators to take advantage of the AfCFTA.

Dr Eugene Owusu, the Executive Director of the Africa Prosperity Network, organisers of the event, called for a collective framework to spur impact investment for Africa’s growth.

Source: GNA
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