President John Dramani Mahama on tuesday called for an effective intra-African trade that would create numerous jobs and leverage industrialization in the continent.
He said the current 11 percent intra-African trade and investment was woefully inadequate and appealed to African leaders to forge economic integration that would promote those activities.
President Mahama made this call when he jointly addressed a business forum as part of South African President Jacob Zuma’s three-day state visit to Ghana.
Earlier on, the two leaders witnessed the signing of three agreements in the areas of Air service, Transport and Energy and held a joint media briefing at the Flagstaff House, Kanda.
President Mahama said Ghana is positioning herself as the preferred investment and trade destination and would therefore cooperate effectively with other African countries to achieve the investment targets of the country in the coming years.
He indicated that there had been a phenomenal increase in trade between Ghana and South Africa reaching a historic 56 percent and appealed to the business communities of the two countries to take advantage 0f the investment opportunities to achieve their business targets.
President Mahama announced that he had directed the Ministry of Finance to reduce bureaucracy and red-tapeism that had over the years frustrated and stifled business activities and to pave way for massive investment and job creation.
The President said Ghana was moving away from her over dependence on cocoa, gold and timber into other areas as a way of diversifying the economy and called on partners to take advantage of the shift to partner Ghanaian businesses.
President Zuma appealed to African leaders to intensify industrialisation as the panacea for growth and development as the continent was the next destination of development and investment after China and India.
He said African countries had the opportunity to grow and develop alongside the advanced economies and encouraged them to build their economies around industrialisation which could enable them compete in the global economy.
President Zuma said the South African businesses and government were collaborating with Ghana in companies such as Anglogold Ashanti, Goldfields, Shoprite, African explosives and was looking forward to stepping up the bilateral relations.
“We shall try to walk the talk to increase investment in Ghana and implement all the Memoranda of Understanding we have signed,” President Zuma added.