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Form alliances to promote African products - South African envoy

BY: Abigail Sedinam Kortiah
Ms Grace Jeanet Mason (2nd from right), South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, unveiling a plaque to open the new office of Fareast Mercantile Company Limited. With her are Ms Phumzile Langeni (left), Chairperson Imperial Logistics Company Limited, and Mr Vikas Singh (right), Managing Director, Fareast Mercantile Company Limited.
Ms Grace Jeanet Mason (2nd from right), South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, unveiling a plaque to open the new office of Fareast Mercantile Company Limited. With her are Ms Phumzile Langeni (left), Chairperson Imperial Logistics Company Limited, and Mr Vikas Singh (right), Managing Director, Fareast Mercantile Company Limited.

The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Grace Mason, has made a clarion call to all manufacturers, traders and financiers to form alliances to promote African-made products for African consumption.

She said the continent had abundance of natural resources to feed industries to make the continent a net exporter to the rest of the world.

“The opportunities are immense and Ghana is well-positioned not just to be a gateway to the West African market, but an African trade hub as it hosts the Secretariat of the AfCFTA,” Ms Mason, who was speaking at the inauguration of the office complex of Fareast Mercantile Company Limited last Friday, said.

Deepen trade

Fareast Mercantile, a subsidiary of South African logistics firm, Imperial Logistics, has been doing business across the company for many years and sees the coming into effect of the AfCFTA as an opportune time to deepen trade within the continent.

The South African high commissioner was upbeat about the momentum the AfCFTA had gathered, saying with the agreement reached for more than 88 per cent of tariffs, about 60 per cent of member states depositing their instruments of ratification and the launch of the Pan African Payments and Settlement System, the continent was now ready to deepen business within.

“As we speak, an agreement has been reached on 88 per cent of Tariff Lines across Africa. This effectively means that sufficient threshold to commence trading has been reached, whereby, Rules of Origin has been agreed and meaningful trade can commence which have been approved by the Heads of State in Addis Ababa by now,” Mason said.

“The Pan African Payment Settlement system was launched to enable African countries to trade in their local countries without relying on third parties to clear transactions. This effectively means Far East Mercantile will not need to convert into other third party currencies to access west, east, south and north African markets,” she added.

The other work on phase two negotiations, focused on Investment Protocol, Competition Policy, Intellectual Property Rights as well as modalities on dispute settlement mechanism, was gaining momentum, she added.

Ms Mason also noted that the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade would also be launched soon to support small and medium enterprises and added that the developments were important towards African unity.

Company

The High Commissioner commended Far East Mercantile Company for being the pioneers of the logistics companies in Ghana which continued to ensure access to goods, not just to the markets but to all households and for positioning South Africa as an important and critical player in the trade and logistics space.

“We commend you for your tenacity and resilience as you have weathered the storms through the pandemic and you have ensured that the much needed supplies consistently became available and indeed we have been able to avoid hunger and starvation in this country and the rest in Africa,” she stated.

“We will never achieve industrialisation and build the ‘Africa we want’ without the logistics role of players which I call the life blood of the economy,” she added.

Global icon

The Chairperson of Imperial Logistics Limited, Ms Phumoszile Langeni, stated that the South African logistics company was part of the top 10 global logistics in the world.

She also said their operations spanned over 30 countries and employed over 30,000 people across the world.

“It is very appeasing to know that we have added to our tally by adding an extra seven countries where we are represented,” Ms Langeni said.

Hard work pays

The Managing Director of Fareast Mercantile Company Ltd, Mr Vikas Singh, said he was pleased with the achievements of the company in Ghana.

He said the company had been in Ghana for over 30 years and had seen many challenges as well as successes, with the opening of the new office which was a testimony of Ghana’s business-friendly environment.

“This milestone is a testimony of the hard work and reward by our management for showing consistent performance and growth year on year.

This was made possible with the guidance of the management of Imperial Group,” Mr Singh said.

Office complex

Located on the Spintex Road in Accra, opposite Energoprojekt, the new building is fitted with all the modern equipment that employees will need as consignment movers.

It also came with a 4,000 square metres of warehousing space.