VICE PRESIDENT Bawumia says he is proud of the modest gains achieved by the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.
Even though he said the nation was saddled with problems, the Vice President said there was still more room for improvement and that government was working tirelessly to get the country back on track.
Speaking at this year’s edition of the Annual New Year School on the Legon campus of the University of Ghana, he indicated that “We have succeeded in creating a conducive business climate that is spurring on the growth of the private sector. Indeed, Ghana is now acknowledged as the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa. Our whole object is to unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of the Ghanaian private sector to drive rapid growth and job creation, and take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).” The theme for this year’s Annual New Year School and Conference is “Positioning the African Market for Sustainable Economic Development through African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
The Vice President continued that “While recent domestic and global economic challenges have negatively impacted our economy, it is important that we promote AfCFTA efforts of key stakeholders such as industry, the private sector, academia and government to reposition Ghana through trade.”
He said this was necessary because “the African Continental Free Trade Area provides an important barometer for Ghana’s quest to boost economic development through regional trading.”
“When you consider the fact that trade between African countries remains low, currently standing at some 16% of our combined GDP, compared to other parts of the world, like the European Union’s 75%, it is obvious that these very low levels of intra-regional trade cannot improve our prospects of bringing prosperity to our peoples.” “A large part of the growth and prosperity that we seek on the continent will come from us trading more among ourselves,” he noted adding that “The coming into force of the AfCFTA means that Africa now has the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation. The Free Trade Area will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion, across the fifty-four (54) Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the Agreement.”
For him, “It will provide the vehicle for us to trade among ourselves in a more modern and sophisticated manner; it will offer a huge opportunity to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our people; and it would give us protection in how to deal with other trading blocks.”
Dr. Bawumia was of the firm belief that “the coming into force and successful implementation of the AfCFTA ties in perfectly with the vision of moving our country to a self-reliant Ghana that has freed herself from a mindset of dependence, charity and handouts, and is determined to make intelligent, disciplined use of her considerable resources the basis for her growth and prosperity.”
“This vision can be better realised if we can leverage the trade and investment opportunities the AfCFTA presents,” he noted.
“There is a new Africa emerging, with a sense of urgency and purpose, and an aspiration to become self-reliant, and move the continent to a situation of self-sufficiency, progress and prosperity. We must succeed together, and do so resoundingly for the benefit of current and future generations. A new dawn of trading and investment across Africa, for Africans, has just begun,” he noted.