Ghana would hold the maiden the ECOWAS Industrial Summit on July 21, 2016, to bring together stakeholders to deliberate the Sub-region’s industrial development to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of citizens.
The Summit, which originally was to be organised by the ECOWAS Commission Secretariat, would now be hosted by Ghana with the participation by other ECOWAS-member countries.
The ECOWAS Commission had notified Ghana of its inability to co-organise the Summit due to some internal challenge from its reorganisation activities.
The Government thus took full responsibility for the organisation, and a planning committee consisting representatives of the relevant ministries, departments and agencies, began its work in September 2015.
Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, at a media launch of the programme, said the Summit was very critical for Ghana’s future and its economy.
He said the Government had invited ECOWAS ministers and industrialists, as well as potential investors outside the Sub-region in Africa, and in Europe, Asia and the United States, to participate in the Summit.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said in view of the importance of the Summit, the Government had invited key personalities such as the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the President of the African Development Bank, saying those two played critical roles in the industrialisation of Africa, especially in the agro sector.
The one-day summit would be held at the Accra International Conference Centre with President John Dramani Mahama as the Guest of Honour.
A meeting of African Free Zones Association to deliberate the utlisation of free zones to improve Africa’s competitive and manufacturing proficiency, among other issues, would be held the day before the Summit.
The Summit would immediately be followed by the Ghana-China Investment Forum, which would look at investment opportunities in Ghana for China, the next day.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said China had made a name for itself on the global scale as an export-oriented industrial nation and was now looking to relocate some of its factories to other parts of the world, including South East Asia and Africa because of the rising costs of labour in China.
“It makes more sense for them to ship their equipment to Africa to process goods to supply the West African Sub-region,” he said. “They’ve written to us along those lines and Ghana intends to become the hub for the West African Sub-region for industrialisation purposes.”
The Trade Minister said Ghana was the most logical destination suited to some kinds of industry, in spite of some challenges, including unreliable and inadequate power supply.
He urged the private sector and businesses in Ghana to support the Summit as they stood to benefit from a vibrant industry and increased investment.