Mrs. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has emphasised the need for Africa to tap its enormous trade and investment potentials through regional integration to accelerate growth and development across the continent.
She said although regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa, African markets remained highly fragmented and that a range of trade barriers including, non-tariff and regulatory barriers leading to high transaction costs, limited movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa, continue to limit the growth of inter-regional trade and investment.
In a speech read on her behalf at the 12th Ghana-Africa Business Awards in Accra, she said African governments, and in particular the Government of Ghana, are making significant efforts to improve the business environment for private sector growth which would lead to job creation especially for the youth
The Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Zimbabwe, Madam Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, who graced the occasion, alluded to the great strides the African Union is making on the political front, particularly, in the maintenance of peace and security which are the pre-requisite to any meaningful socio-economic development.
She said the numerous political conflicts, acts of terrorism, and cross border insecurity remain a cause for concern in some parts of the continent, thus creating unnecessary setbacks on progress towards the attainment of a borderless Africa.
Nonetheless, she was pleased that the African Union through its various regional economic bodies, continues to advocate for broader regional integration, to stimulate intra-African trade and socio-economic development.
According to Mr. Isaac Dankwa, Director of Top Brass Ghana, organisers of the event, the Ghana-Africa Business Awards Scheme has been instituted under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to honour enterprises which make significant contributions to Ghana’s development through the promotion of trade, investment and other economic relations between Ghana and other African countries.
The institution of the Awards Scheme, he said, is informed by the realisation, as captured in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Initiative), that Africa can accelerate its own development through increased economic exchanges among African countries themselves.
Among the award winners, were Azar Chemical Industries Limited; e-Process International SA; Gold Recovery Ghana Limited; Golden Dragon Casino Ghana Limited; Golden Tulip Accra Hotel; John Bitar & Company Limited and Unilever Ghana.
The awards ceremony was chaired by Mr. Sam Poku, a former Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines while Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey-Tsuru III, La Mantse, presented awards to some of the award winners.