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John Mills Pushes For Common African Market   
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President John Mills has urged African business executives to work towards achieving a common continental market in order to boost trade on the continent.

According to him, the distribution of the natural resource base of the continent makes it imperative for “us to deepen our resolve to develop a common market for the benefit of all.”
Speaking at an African Investment Forum at the Accra International Conference Centre, the President said in parts of the continent where there is existing and effective regional integration there has been effective trade investments.

“It is important that we stay focused on the fact that a critical imperative for the continent’s quantum leap in economic growth and development is the extent to which we have an integrated market.”
He said previous successes recorded in other areas of the continent with respect to regional integration are as a result of “concerted adoption and implementation of policies.”

He said these successes have been achieved through macroeconomic policies, coordinated infrastructure development programmes, establishment of monetary unions and common external tariffs and mobility of labour.

The President said Ghana experienced what he described as healthy growth, registering about 300 million projects in the non-mining and petroleum sectors with an estimated cash flow of over US$ 700 million, despite the expectation that foreign direct investment to the continent would decine in 2009.

“If total inflows into the mining, petroleum, and free zone operations are included, it is estimated that investments into Ghana in 2009 would exceed US$2billion and the prospects for 2010 look even brighter,” the President said.

He listed among others the oil and gas extraction and related services, infrastructure expansion, energy, agriculture and agribusiness, tourism and the financial services, as some of the areas the country has ‘insatiable investment appeal.

He said Ghana’s interest will be paramount in any investment decision that is made, emphasising that investors are always welcome into the country.

“Agriculture continues to remain a major pivot around which our growth agenda is revolving because it will not only ensure food security but most importantly, provide sustainable to Agriculture and improved food security,” he added.

“It is thus gratifying to note that this gathering is giving prominence to issues relating to agriculture and improved food security.”

The President also used the opportunity to advise participants to ensure that their respective countries create the needed environment such as political stability, transparency judiciary and a strong commitment to fighting corruption, which are important to any investor. He was optimistic the forum will take the opportunity to discuss the oil and gas sector, which Ghana is likely to explore by October.
Source: Daily Express/ghana

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