The maiden edition of The Africa Prosperity Dialogue Series dubbed the ‘Kwahu Summit’ is ongoing with Africa’s political and business leaders, gathering and brainstorming on the all-important single market project for the continent.
Addressing the opening ceremony as the Keynote Speaker at the Summit, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said Africa needs to make significant investments in Smart infrastructure since that is critical to the success of AfCFTA.
According to him, there is an urgent need for African countries to prioritise investment in smart infrastructure in a bid to fast-track industrialisation on the continent, saying that Africa must take bold steps to reduce poverty.
He said: “There is the need for smart investment in critical infrastructure, as a continent, we need to produce and trade our way out of poverty and underdevelopment, and we cannot do that without investing in smart infrastructure across the continent.”
Dr. Bawumia also mentioned that the time has come for Africa to define its own narrative since t cannot allow poverty to be the driving force of its destiny, hence efforts must be made to transform Africa into a global power house where trade, industrialization and investment would drive the agenda.
Vice President Bawumia also averred that in the last decades, Africans have seen some positive investment, and that there is the need for additional resources to finance the routes for trade, which include the physical infrastructure such as roads, rail and energy, digital infrastructure such as data centres and financial infrastructure to allow for integration of our financial markets.
To be able to achieve the needed industrialization on the continent, the Vice President also called on African governments to implement concrete and workable actions to ensure that, stressing tha, “Like the vision of our forebears, AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation drive. But it will take concrete, strategic actions by governments and businesses on the continent, the right mix of policies, and a greater sense of purpose for more intra-Africa trade to happen to support economic diversification and the much-needed industrialisation on the continent.”
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko
The Chairperson for African Prosperity Network (APN) and Senior Partner, Africa Legal Associates, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko believed Africa is blessed with the resources to strike fear in the heart of the world.
Though he believes Africa can achieve much, he called for a collective approach to achieve that, stressing that the “Kwahu Summit” through APN can flourish.
Mr Otchere-Darko said Europe in 1957 started the EU with six nations and it was not until years later those other countries became part of it.
“This conversation that the politicians have initiated, the business community is the right source to own it and move it forward. And here, we are not only talking about multi-national companies, that is why we settled on Kwahu became the Kwahu indigenes are considered or noted for being resourceful people business-wise.”
Dr Eugene Owusu
In his welcome address, the Executive Director of the APN, Dr Eugene Owusu enumerated that the African Continental Free Trade Area is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years.
It aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy.
As fast changing geopolitical realities and health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic have brought to light Africa’s over-reliance on global supply chains, the Ghana Summit sharpens its focus on making the continent self-reliant while increasing its production capacity in various industrial fields.
He mentioned that a general consensus on reducing trade barriers exists amongst African leaders, as demonstrated by the fact that 54 African countries have signed the AFCTA agreement with only Eritrea which is yet to come on board.
He believed that with the emergence of the prosperity dialogue, African leadership would work towards transitioning such events into concrete actions.
“The uniqueness of this dialogue [Kwahu Summit] is its feature of connecting industry leaders to heads of governments… It is connecting industry leaders with heads of state.”
“What this dialogue can do if successful will be to lead to the institutionalisation of a space where Africans can meet to discuss African problems, to find solutions to them,” he said.
“The Africa Prosperity Dialogues are symbolically dubbed the Kwahu Summit because the Kwahu people of Ghana, the host nation, represent entrepreneurship and trade and are known to support each other excel in business. Kwahu is also the highest habitable elevation in Ghana.
The organisers of the Kwahu Summit aim to support, by building enhanced intra-African trade, the elevation of Africa and her people to the highest summit of human living, dignity and prosperity.”
The Summit he stressed is an initiative of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), and has given a platform to brainstorm on the all-important single market project for the continent, and create a yearly platform for the continent’s leaders to spearhead collaborative implementation of the all-important Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The Guest Speaker at the Summit, His Excellency Wamkele Mene who is the Executive Secretary of the AfCFTA Secretariate accentuated the need for Africans to have impactful dialogues about Africa’s trade relations with the rests of the world in light of the state of intra-Africa trade.
He pledged AfCfFTA Secretariate’s support for the Kwahu Summit and urged that the Summit would effectively engage the full range of sustainable development actors, governments, and businesses who have gathered, to explore how to accelerate the AfCFTA implementation as well as explore the kind of economic development vision Africa must have.
He said the Kwahu Summit must provide thought leadership on a range of issues for the acceleration of the goals of an Africa that is prosperous, industrialized, and independent economically.
The Summit would be a yearly platform for the continent’s leaders to spearhead collaborative implementation of the all-important Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.