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By Alexander Nyarko Yeboah
The President of the Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CGCC), Mr. Alexander Nortey, says the success of Africa depends on her ability to trade among member states and harness their opportunities.
“Our future is by doing business with one another and that’s the opportunity offered by the free trade area, either as Ghanaians or as Africans,” says Mr. Nortey.
The CGCC president made this submission on Thursday when the gitficonline called on him at his office in Accra to pick his thoughts ahead of the fourth Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) which would be on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Mr. Nortey observed that the role of logistics in Africa was paramount for business. “Right now, our logistics is in a comatose state; our railways since they were built have not been rehabilitated, our roads are in very poor conditions, travel time between one African country and another is too cumbersome and dangerous,” he hinted.
He therefore asked African governments to come together and fix their infrastructure for business to thrive and improve on how they were going to connect the major cities on the continent.
“The major cities in the sub-region need direct highways; we need to develop our highways and our railways to ensure intercity connections in order for businesses within the sub-region to flourish, and without that it would be a challenge,” he stressed.
The President of the CGCC informed that it was very expensive to travel within the sub-region, so African governments should consider expanding air, road, sea and rail travel and reduce cost.
Mr. Nortey also asked for effective maritime network, urging custom offices to have a single window for taxation and duties to make it easy to do business.
“There has to be a genuine intention for those barriers to be broken down, and if governments and the agencies do not work together it would hamper what the free trade area can do,” he said.
He asked for a committed approach that would make members to be serious about the opportunities free trade offered, observing that, “Even though it is happening too late, I am happy it has started and we hope that member states of Africa would take advantage of it and transform their economies”
The fourth GITFiC conference which comes off on the 27 and 28th of October, would be on the theme, “optimizing AfCFTA for Africans, the role of logistics infrastructure.”