Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said the only way to build a self-sustaining continent is for African nations to cooperate with each other in trade and investment.
He says the COVID-19 pandemic and protectionist interventions by major suppliers to Africa is a wake-up call for African nations to co-operate more in building a self-sustaining continent.
The Vice President was speaking at the opening of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference 2021 (Ghipcon 2021) organised by the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD). The two-day conference, being held on virtual platforms, is under the theme, “Positioning Africa’s Petroleum Downstream for AfCFTA [the African Continental Free Trade Area].”
The continent’s problem, according to Dr. Bawumia, is that African nations trade a lot with the rest of the world than among themselves – a situation which, the vice president said, does not auger well for the transformation of African economies.
Dr. Bawumia noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides industry with a perfect opportunity to contribute towards the realisation of a first world Africa, stressing that the level of intra-African trade must change if Africans are truly committed to the continent’s economic transformation.
“We trade about 85% with the world and just 15% with ourselves. This is in sharp contrast with trade amongst the EU [nations] at 67%, Asia at 61% and 47% in the Americas. This situation must change if we are truly committed to Africa’s economic transformation,” he stressed.
The Vice President noted that Africa has considerable mineral, oil and gas resources that can help accelerate growth if used strategically.
“We are at an economic crossroads. One that needs teamwork to achieve the transformation of our economies for the betterment and sustainability of our people,” Dr. Bawumia said. “With all our natural and human resources endowment, we risk an economic catastrophe with many of our teeming youth unemployed and angry if we fail to harness them productively to accelerate growth.”
Dr. Bawumia suggested that African nations should be co-operating in the development of regional assets including refineries and logistical assets, to achieve the economies of scale required for commercial viability. “This drives productivity and puts our able youth to work, which in turn preserves and enriches their dignity,” he said.
The Ghana International Petroleum Conference (GhIPCON) is Ghana’s foremost Petroleum Downstream Conference where policymakers, industry operatives and experts converge to deliberate on issues of policy and operations as well as share ideas and experiences.
GhIPCON is designed to actively bring to the fore the petroleum industry’s perspective and guidance on issues of governmental and regulatory policy as well as best practices for the advancement of the industry, not only in Ghana but across the sub-region and beyond.