Abanga Farms & Food Systems Limited, a Ghanaian agricultural-based company, has taken delivery of the first consignment of top-quality beef from Meatco, the Namibian meat producing and exporting company to distribute in Ghana.
It is the first of its kind between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regions.
Forward looking partnership
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Abanga Farms & Food Systems, Thomas Abanga, at a ceremony to mark the big partnership between the two firms at Tema on June 29, said the partnership was forward-looking with the expectation that the benefits that would accrue to both Ghana and Namibia would be immense and long-term.
He called on Africa’s private sector to step up and propel the continent’s development and not rely solely on their governments to lead Africa’s economic emancipation.
He said the problem with Africa’s underdevelopment was not entirely the government’s but also the inability of the private sector to take risks.
“It is the private sector that can propel the economic development of Africa. It is, therefore, time for the private sector to step up,” the CEO said.
He said the partnership would help strengthen the agriculture sector of both countries, particularly the livestock sub-sector whose true potential remains untapped in Ghana.
The High Commissioner of Namibia to Ghana, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, underlined the need for African countries to increase inter-trade within the continent.
She noted that Africans would do well to consume what the continent produces and stop depending on goods and products from outside the continent.
She expressed the hope that the partnership between Meatco and Abanga Farms & Food Systems would expand beyond Ghana and Namibia and move into other African markets.
I am particularly proud of the partnership because it fell in line with the economic diplomacy with the current Namibian government to promote trade between the two countries,” he said.
Ghana, Namibia relation
Namibia is a major producer and exporter of beef and beef products such as corned beef.
It meets the rigorous requirements of Europe and America and has the certification to operate in the very demanding food industries of those markets. Namibian meat is also, crucially, halal compliant.
Relations between Ghana and Namibia go far back to the period of the liberation struggles of that country against European colonialists and Apartheid racism.
The support of Ghana’s first president, who remains an icon to the people of Namibia was very pivotal in keeping the struggle alive.
Successive Ghanaian governments played their parts but it was the government of President Jerry John Rawlings that took the lead in establishing diplomatic relations with Namibia in March 1999, but even with that trade remained minimal.
The Abanga Farms & Food Systems and Meatco partnership may be the kind of initiative that would push the door to open wider for others to move in.