Vice President Dr. Mahumudu Bawumia has said the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents a perfect opportunity for realizing a first world Africa that is truly dependent and capable of taking care of its people.
Dr. Bawumia made these assertions at the opening of the 2021 edition of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference (GhipCon) held virtually.
The 2021 GhIPCON is sponsored by Stanbic Bank, one of the leading trade finance banks in the country together with others.
Head of Trade at Stanbic Bank Kodwo Arizie said, “We at Stanbic Bank are excited about the AfCTA because it has been long in coming. The Standard Bank has been operating on the continent for the past 158 years and as a bank committed to driving the growth of the continent, we have been waiting for an opportunity that helps us maximize the opportunities of this continent. And for that to happen, we need to tap into our own reserves, we need to start connecting more and we need to start leveraging on the massive opportunities that exist in Africa. We believe the AfCFTA is strategically positioned to achieve this.”
Vice President Dr. Bawumia, in delivering the keynote address, indicated that Africa has the requisite elements that can make the realization of this dream a possibility and the AfCFTA is the mechanism that can expedite this.
“This year’s GhipCon makes us confront the two paradoxes of growth – that is the abundance of natural resources and trading amongst ourselves as Africans. Africa is home to 30 percent of the world’s natural resources and has 13 percent of the world’s population, which should give us leverage over the rest of the world. However, we trade 85 per cent with the rest of the world and only 15 percent amongst ourselves. This can be addressed with AfCFTA as trading with ourselves will accelerate growth on the continent,” Dr. Bawumia said.
The Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, in his remarks, noted that the AfCFTA has made unprecedented progress in facilitating trade across the continent since the Secretariat began its operations in 2020.
“So far, 36 out of the 55 countries in Africa have ratified the AfCFTA opening up trade lines that did not exist before. This is unprecedented in the history of intra-Africa trade.”
Wamkele Mene further noted that Africa’s petroleum industry and its value chain activities are integral to the industrialization of the African continent.
He said African countries should leverage the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA to build their capacities to reduce the dependence on global supply chains.
GhipCon is Ghana’s foremost Petroleum Downstream Conference organised by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) under the auspices of the Ministry of Energy and in partnership with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs).
GhipCon 2021, which is being held under the theme ‘Positioning Africa’s Petroleum Downstream for AfCFTA’, is expected to provide critical insights into market shifts and policies occasioned by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which makes Africa the world’s largest free trade area.
The virtual event is being held on the 10th and 11th March 2021.