Dr Kwabena Adjei, Group Chairman, Kasapreko Company Limited has said through cooperation in trade and commerce, the private sector would create the avenue for the exchange of knowledge, experience and skills acquisition.
He said the sector was endowed with professional and human resources that could be leveraged for national development.
Dr Adjei was speaking during the maiden, Weizo, Accra 2015 conference, on the topic: “The Role of the private sector in Regional Integration.”
The one-day conference, organised by Akwaaba; African Market, Lagos, was to offer the top players in tourism in West Africa, the opportunity to have a first-hand glimpse of the biggest street party in Africa and the best tourism event in West Africa.
He said as private sector players, it was important that companies consistently evaluate opportunities that would foster growth and sustainability in the area of regional integration.
He said Governments over the years, had signed treaties that would promote trade amongst member countries, creating a positive atmosphere for private businesses to thrive.
The Group Chairman said a flourishing private sector in the sub-region would translate into numerous benefits for member countries in the areas of job creation, revenue generation, exchange of knowledge and skill acquisition and economic stability and growth.
However, he said, there were a number of challenges stifling private sector growth and participation in regional integration, including local laws that supersede ECOWAS agreements, high tariffs and strict border controls.
He said weak dispute settlement mechanisms and the high level of mistrust in working together to resolve disputes and conflicts often prevented private businesses to invest in member countries.
“This practice weakens investor confidence in our integration measures, and casts doubts in the mindset of these investors,” he added.
He said for the private sector to contribute effectively, it needed to harmonize themselves in areas such as trade tariffs and border controls as well as integration in information and communications technologies and financial infrastructure.
He said these sectors form the backbone of regional integration, saying information communication technology would help the private sector to fully utilize the benefits for economic growth.
Dr Adjei said at the regional level, it would require competing interests making use of a range of fora for co-operation, and this, therefore, demanded all players to comply with the rules to help achieve this policy.
“On the issue of language barrier, I will recommend that we all take this seriously and invest in acquiring knowledge and fluency in most languages,” he added.