The opportunities emerging for investors to play a part in Africa’s industrial expansion and intra-regional trade growth were among topics explored by the CEO of Ghana-based LMI Holdings, Kojo Aduhene, in a wide-ranging interview he granted recently.
In the video interview with the Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform, Aduhene said that with individual countries now putting the necessary framework in place, the time was ripe for the public and private sectors to begin addressing infrastructural shortfalls in priority areas, such as power distribution and transmission, alongside water and internet provision.
“Ghana and Africa must industrialise,” he told OBG. “To do that we need to have an enabling environment. We need to make sure we have in place all the infrastructure that will be needed.”
Aduhene was upbeat about the prospects for increased intra-regional trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which he said held the key to boosting Africa’s competitiveness over time.
“We need to integrate to make use of various raw materials so we can be competitive,” he said “The African Continental Free Trade Area is excellent, because it forces countries to take decisions. I am excited about it, especially for a company that wants to be active Africa-wide in five or 10 years’ time.”
The importance of making environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals a priority in areas such as power generation and transport was another focal point.
“If we don’t look at ESG goals now, we will pay a price in the future,” he said. “If it is done to scale, renewable energy can be cheaper than the sources we have now. For regional integration, transport is crucial. I think we should develop other forms of transport that are more environmentally friendly and cheaper, like rail, like waterway transport.”
Aduhene also highlighted the need to ensure urban migration is planned properly, with affordable housing in rapidly expanding centres a must.
“One way of doing so is to develop smart cities where we can use technology to make living easier, to make the provision of leisure, traveling to work and all of that much simpler,” he told OBG.
Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said the interview with Aduhene provided a fascinating snapshot of both the opportunities and challenges that Africa presents as it enters a historic phase in its socioeconomic development.
“Africa stands on the brink of an exciting new chapter in its growth story, with the implementation of the AfCFTA translating into myriad openings for investors as the continent moves to lay the groundwork for much-needed industrialisation and cross-border trade facilitation,” he said. “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer valuable insight into the plans taking shape across the continent, which will undoubtedly require significant input from the private sector.”