Ghana’s Trade and Industry Minister, Honorable Alan Kyerematen, has called on African leaders to prioritize trade and industry as key the development of the continent.
Hon Kyerematen urged leadership of African countries and stakeholders to lean towards the trade sector as the missing piece in the jigsaw of the continent's development agenda.
Speaking at the 13th World Trade Promotion Organisation Conference & Awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, Hon Kyerematen said, cited examples of how small and medium scale businesses adopted measures to enable them cope with challenges at the height of the COVID pandemic.
“On the economic front, small businesses, large companies and other organizations did not wait for the virus to disappear before they got back to work. On the contrary, with the support of technology, they opened up to new ideas to promote their businesses, try new business ideas and adapt to the new times.
"Everyone was motivated to dig into their creativity and innovation and make the best of the situation they found themselves in.
I have been particularly amazed at the tenacity displayed by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Their boldness and courage to take on new business and ideas at the risk of potential failure, has been simply amazing”, Hon. Kyeremanten said.
On the need for immediate take off in the economy, the Minister called for the immediate return to the trade and industry arena to as a means of reviving various sectors of the economy for quick growth.
“If there was ever a time in the history of the world that nations around the globe require ‘bold solutions for resilience and recovery’ that time is now. Events of the past two years and indeed the last few months, have been extraordinary in their devastating impact on social lives as well as on the global economy”, he said.
Mr. Kyerematen said the important role played by
MSMEs in employing majority of the world’s workforce made it imperative for them to be supported to ensure the success of their businesses.
He urged the conference, as Trade Promotion Organisations to adopt innovative ways for the viability of MSMEs as means of tapping into the huge youthful population of the continent for development.
He enumerated seven points which would help TPOs to effectively play the role that is expected of them.
The need for governments around the world, particularly in developing countries, to put trade at the center of their development agenda. Trade must be mainstreamed in national development plans. Programmes and projects that enhance trade must be aggressively pursued by TPOs.
Secondly, TPOs must identify specific areas where global trade disruptions have created opportunities for scaling up local production in their national economy, and build partnerships with private sector business associations to take advantage of such opportunities.
Thirdly, TPOs should identify existing or potential exporting companies that can leverage opportunities for exports, particularly to regional markets arising from trade disruptions in the supply of goods to those markets.
The other factors were that:
TPOs should facilitate the use of regional value chains to exploit market opportunities around the world for MSMEs.
Fifthly, Trade and Investment Promotion Organizations where they operate independently of each other, must enhance the level of collaboration between them, to attract investments into the domestic economy that will facilitate both domestic and foreign trade.
Sixth, TPOs must enhance the use and deployment of digital platforms in facilitating trade across borders.
Seventh, the role of regional markets and intra-regional trade must be prioritized by TPOs in programming technical support and assistance for MSMEs. In this regard, TPOs on the African continent must work actively to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, Mr. Kyerematen said.
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