President Akufo-Addo (right) addressing the Ghana-Kenya Business Forum in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo (right) addressing the Ghana-Kenya Business Forum in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

Ghana-Kenya investment forum: President Akufo-Addo calls for deepening of intra-African trade

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for the deepening of intra-African trade to drive the continent's development.


At the Ghana-Kenya business forum in Accra yesterday, he said the African business community must seize opportunities through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to propel growth and development.

The forum, which was on the theme: "Driving investment and intra-Africa Trade: The Ghana-Kenya experience," was aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two nations.

The high-level event was attended by the President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto, who is on a three-day working visit to the country, and a delegation of Kenyan diplomats and civil servants. 


President Akufo-Addo compared the high level of intra-European trade to the relatively low level of intra-African trade, and said increasing trade among the latter would lead to greater prosperity for the continent.

"Strengthening and facilitating business relations between Ghana and Kenya is absolutely critical to the future of our continent and the prosperity of our people,” he added.  The President said while politicians provide the framework for development, it was ultimately the business community that drove growth.

"Politicians, as policymakers, will lay the framework, but at the end of the day the people who will drive the growth and development of this continent are the business people in this room.

“It's your ability to seize opportunities that will determine whether or not we go forward, or whether or not the eradication of poverty in our generation is going to be possible in Africa,” he said. 


On education, President Akufo-Addo highlighted the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in equipping African youth with the skills needed for the 21st century.

President William Ruto, speaking at the forum

President William Ruto, speaking at the forum

"We want to have a significant shift of emphasis in our educational system to those who will embrace new technologies," he added. The President also stressed the need for infrastructure development and financial support for young entrepreneurs, while urging private institutions to encourage entrepreneurship by coming up with new products and ideas.

"Apart from funding, actually encourage people to take it upon themselves not just to go to offices and do crosswords, but also create businesses, new ideas and new products,” he said. 


For his part, Dr Ruto encouraged African businesses to invest in one another rather than seeking investment from outside the continent, adding that a country cannot be prosperous while it's neighbour suffers.

"It is important for you and business people to begin to open up your minds to the opportunities that exist within our borders. It is not possible to be prosperous when your neighbour is suffering," he said.

"As policymakers, we will assist African businesses to grow, such that each and every business person looks at the horizon beyond Ghana, beyond Kenya and into the African market," he said.

The President acknowledged the tremendous potential that exists under intra-African trade, and urged businesses in Africa to take advantage of such partnerships for entrepreneurial, national and continental growth.

"It is my wish that business people will build on this platform and work with us as we work on the policy framework, as we eliminate the barriers, as we build the bridges to assist our business people, move products, move goods, move services and integrate our continent so that we can share the prosperity that comes with our working together," he added.


Some business-related memoranda of understanding were signed between some institutions from the two countries. They included agreements between the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), and the Kenya School of Governance; the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Kenya Investment Authority; the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

There was also a fair where some products of the two countries were exhibited, and some businesses enabled to network for future partnerships.

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