“Our message to the global investor community is, therefore, this: Africa is ready for business. Africa needs you and you need Africa. You need Africa because Africa is busily building the world’s largest single market of 1.3 billion people. Soon we will have a customs union, and soon we will have a continental payment system that will accelerate and facilitate trade amongst ourselves.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered an address to the 77th Session of the United Nations, currently ongoing in New York, in the United States of America.
In his address, the President stated that Africa sees “the current geopolitical crisis as an opportunity to rely less on food imports from outside the continent and use better our sixty per cent global share of arable lands to increase food production.”
According to him, “we have seen the devastating impact of relying on Russia and Ukraine for seventy per cent of our wheat consumption. We have enough land, enough water, enough gas and enough manpower to produce enough fertiliser, food and energy for ourselves and for others.”
In spite of this, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that “we cannot do it all by ourselves”, and asked the global investor community to see Africa for what it is – “the new frontier for manufacturing, for technology, for food production.”
In the case of Ghana, the President told the gathering that his government has launched the successful policy of ‘One District One Factory’ – a policy, with government incentives, that has directly seen, so far, to some one hundred and twenty-five (125) enterprises being set up in various districts across the country, leveraging on each area’s competitive advantage.
“That is why, six years ago, my government embarked on an aggressive policy of planting for food and jobs, which has helped our farmers increase their yields in folds. Indeed, we are recognising that many of the things we import can be found or produced in Ghana, or in other African countries,” he added.
True to our knowledge that industrialisation is the way to go and, with the single market as the added incentive, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana has taken policy measures to add value to her natural resources.
“For example, we are processing more of our cocoa, refining more of our gold, and we are determined to exploit the entire value chain of our huge lithium deposits. We are busily building an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry and an integrated iron and steel industry, building new oil refineries and have, so far, attracted six (6) of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers to set up assembling plants in Ghana, prior to producing them in the country,” he added.
In line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the President indicated that Africa’s ambition is to transform her food systems over the next decade, anchored in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth.
“What we require now is support from the investor community for the rolling out of Africa’s lucrative agro-industry, and for the community to see agribusiness in Africa as much more an opportunity than the perceived, exaggerated risk which has been the false, but dominant narrative,” he added.
In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo tasked the United Nations “to take proper stock of this initiative and ask a few searching questions, recognising what could have been achieved with greater commitment and focus.”