‘Take advantage of ECOWAS markets to boost trade’

Francois Pujolas French Ambassador  to Ghana

Francois Pujolas French Ambassador to Ghana

Governments should take advantage of the enormous opportunities that markets in the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) offered to boost trade and investment among member states, Francois Pujolas, Ambassador of France to Ghana has said.

He said strengthening markets in West Africa required that member states took steps to ensure regional integration.

Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry France-Ghana (CCIFG) conference at his residence in Accra on Wednesday, Mr. Pujolas said there was the need to deepened economic exchanges and partnership between countries in West Africa.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Borderless Alliance, and GFA Consulting Limited, facilitated the event, which was part of activities marking the 60 years of bilateral relations between Ghana and France.

Although ECOWAS offered huge potential for business and economic activities, he said the members states had not fully tap the benefit.

He said climate change, terrorism and migration presents new challenges that should be tackled holistically.

Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, president of AGI said Ghana was a preferred business destination, having witnessed seven successful elections and peaceful transfer of power from one government to another.

He said only six per cent of Ghana’s export goes to ECOWAS, while 46 per cent of its exports was taken to Europe.

The AGI president said the Ghana Exim Bank, the government’s national export development strategy had been established to support local industries.

Mr. Akwaboah said ECOWAS markets presented immeasurable investment and business prospects, but mentioned high cost electricity, unstable economic situation, trade barriers, Nigeria’s ban on exports from some West African countries, infrastructure deficits and slow pace of regional integration as challenges that confronted the region.

Mr. Ziad Hamoudi of the Borderless Alliance said the organisation is a leading source of the most up-to-date on information on trade and transport, and worked closely with the private sector, governments, multilateral groups, and businesses to improve the region’s trade and investment climate.

Most importantly, he said the Alliance works with member states and built their capacity through seminars, workshops, conferences, and advocacy programmes.

For his part Mr. Gauthier Pourcelle, Vice-president of the CCIFG said the programme would promote sub-regional trade.

By Malik Sullemana   

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