Take advantage of ECOWAS – Investment Consultant

The President of the Ghanaian-German Economic Association (GGEA), Mr Stephen Antwi, has urged the country to take advantage of the West African market to grow local businesses.

An ardent believer in regional markets and blocs, Mr Anwti, a management and investment consultant, said in an interview that from 2009 onwards Ghana should not relent in its efforts at pushing harder the true implementation of ECOWAS protocols.

He told the Daily Graphic it was only when the various protocols such as those on the free movement of goods and services, a common customs union and general trade facilitation had been well implemented that the regional body would be effective.

Since the formation of ECOWAS in 1975, various protocols have been agreed upon but poor implementation has rendered most of them cumbersome and less beneficial to the 15-member states.

Mr Antwi believes that a working ECOWAS would be to Ghana’s advantage as many international investors would take advantage of the country’s stability and peace and adopt it as its regional hub.

The country has on its own been pursuing a private sector drive intended to make the country West Africa’s hub of business and trade base just as Dubai is for the East Asia, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Region and China, now the manufacturing hub of the world.

Ghana’s programme, known as the gateway project, is aimed at attracting manufacturing and service-oriented companies to locate here and export their services and goods to the rest of West Africa and other parts of the world.

The three components of the Ghana Gateway Programme are Free Zone Development, Trade facilitation and investment promotion being implemented by seven agencies, including Ghana Free Zones Board, the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

“We have to champion the cause of ECOWAS to weed out unnecessary checkpoints on West African region,” Mr Antwi stated.

He told the Daily Graphic that it was time the country used its foreign policy to advance its cause, particularly the domestic private sector.

Source: Daily Graphic

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