Trade Minister briefs int’l forum on Ghana’s economic reforms

Alan PixGhana has participated in an international economic forum themed, ‘Perspectives of economic growth in West Africa’, held recently in the Canary Islands, Spain.

 

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kereymaten, represented Ghana at the forum, attended by ministers and senior officials from Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde and Cote d’Ivoire. Also in attendance was the Director of Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission, René N’Guetia Kouassi.

 

The summit was organised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the regional government of the Canary Islands and Casa Africa, with the collaboration of the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD).

 

The forum arises in a context in which both the Spanish government and the Canary Islands are committed to strengthening relations with the African continent, with special interest in West Africa.

 

Ghana was one of the countries invited to the forum in recognition of its leadership role in the ECOWAS and its favourable economic perspectives, being one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and globally, with a growth rate expected to reach 8,3 per cent in 2018, according to the World Bank.

 

Mr. Kereymaten briefed the audience on the important economic reforms that are being implemented in Ghana and outlined the main policies and flagships programmes in the context of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.

 

He also chaired a panel discussion on agro-industry and logistics and held a bilateral meeting with Alfonso Dastis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain to discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral economic and commercial ties as well as exchange views on business opportunities and the presence of Spanish companies in Ghana.

 

Minister Dastis stressed  that the African continent is one of the major priorities of Spain`s foreign policy, which has led the government, during the current term, to take important steps to strengthen its relationship with Africa and, in particular, with the sub-Saharan region, highlighting the role of West Africa.

 

In this regard, the minister said that, “Being aware of the new reality of the continent, we are redesigning our strategic approach to the region based on our accumulated experience and our growing weight in Africa”.

 

The new framework of Spain`s relations with Africa will be reflected in the III African Plan in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation is working on, with the aim of being more effective in defending Spain’s interests, while also contributing to the development and growth of the African continent.

 

“Spain will continue to cooperate with the countries of West Africa to achieve an inclusive and sustainable economic development for the benefit of the two,” Mr Dastis said.

 

During the forum, the OECD and other participants highlighted that after decades of low economic growth and dragging the cliché of being one of the regions most neglected by globalisation, most of the countries of West Africa maintain a constant average growth of 5 per cent per year for ten years.

 

In addition, trade between West Africa, with 400 million people, and the rest of the world continues to grow, and infrastructure development projects to achieve better internal connectivity are advancing firmly from the ECOWAS, which is currently studying the incorporation of Morocco and Mauritania to the organisation.

 

In a gesture that advances steps towards the promotion of intra-African trade and industrialisation in Africa, the future CFTA will allow the creation of a common market of more than one billion consumers, with an increase of 52 per cent in trade between African countries, a customs union between now and 2022 and an African economic community in 2028.

 

The Director  of Casa África, Luis Padrón, mentioned that the dynamism and growth of West Africa is unstoppable, with an already exciting present and a more than encouraging future and riveted that the current indicators favour confidence in regional integration and the advent of a prosperous and stable future, based on the large infrastructure projects that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has in place, the demographic growth and prospects for increased intra-African industrialisation and trade.

 

Mr Padrón also referred to the recent signing of the agreement to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which paves the way for the establishment of the largest single market for goods and services since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

 

Fernando Clavijo, President of the Canary regional government recalled that the European Union encourages the outermost regions, such as the Canary Islands, to integrate into their respective regional spaces.

 

In this respect, the Canary Islands constitute a natural platform and a space for cooperation and want to strengthen a cross-border cooperation programme with West Africa with the aim of contributing to the sustainable and inclusive development of the region.

 

At 95 kilometres from the coast of Africa (nearest point), the Canary Islands have become a link between continents, and a base to develop cooperation, economic and commercial ties and cultural exchanges.

 

BY TIMES REPORTER

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