Leading members of the private sector in Ghana and Kenya have acknowledged that both countries have the capacity, economic and investment credentials to transform and expand trade between their respective regional markets.
Speakers at the Kenya Trade Expo Ghana 2017 event in Accra, Ghana, noted that linking business between the two countries would boost intra-Africa trade and enhance economic development in the continent.
Convened by Nana Yao Lee and Leah Nduati Lee, this year’s Kenya Trade Expo Ghana 2017 had as its theme “Breaking New Frontiers in Intra-African Trade”. The four-day event was held in partnership with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Business Development, the Export Promotion Council in Kenya, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Corporation in Kenya.
Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Kiprono Kittony told participants called on governments need to embrace public-private partnership to drive trade among African states.
“Governments need to facilitate intra-Africa trade as there are many opportunities which can be exploited for economic growth,” Kittony told participants from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, Namibia, Sudan, Europe and North America attending the Kenya Trade Expo Ghana 2017 event in Accra this week.
Experts from government agencies and the business community are converging at the event to examine the challenges and looming opportunities for intra- and inter-regional cooperation around Africa.
Kittony said many western and American companies such as Google, Facebook, Tecno, Netflix, Shell, ZTE were setting up offices in Africa.
“Their presence in Africa is not an accident, it’s driven by the economics of trade, investment flows and profitability,” Kittony said.
“Intra-Africa investments and trade are prerequisites for regional and national economic development and growth…In a couple of years, Africa will have more people than India and China combined,” said Robert Ahomka-Linsdey, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.
Trade analysts at the African Development Bank (AfDB) note that trade between African nations stands at around 16%, the lowest amongst other regions of the world.
According to Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Integration, trade flows from Kenya to Ghana was worth about US$5.3 million in 2016, while Ghana’s exports to Kenya stood at US$2 million.
The African Union (AU) is hoping to boost intra-African trade through the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by the end of 2017. This should hopefully be the prelude to a Common Trade Market.
With 25 Kenyan projects registered by the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) in Ghana between 1994 and September 2017, mostly in the manufacturing sector, “there is no reason why we cannot begin to deepen the trade ties between our respective nations. The political will exists, and manpower and technical know-how are no longer issues,” Ahomka-Linsdey said, explaining that “Africa is richly endowed and brimming with untapped wealth.”
“Even as we continue to trade with Asia and the matured economies, we must now seriously begin to explore and exploit the latent opportunities around the human and material resources within our vast continent.”
Also in attendance at this flagship event were the representative of the Kenyan High Commissioner to West Africa, with concurrent accreditation to Nigeria and Ghana, Peter Karuiki; the South African Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Lulu Xingwana; the High Commissioner of Zambia to Ghana, Rayford Mbulu; the Chairman of Cellulant Corporation, Dr. Sam Kiruthi and the Chief Operating Officer of the GIPC, Carl Nelson.