Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, Ghana’s caretaker minister for trade and industry, has revealed that Africa, like Europe and Asia, can and will unleash prosperity for its people. The minister, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of the African Prosperity Dialogue in Ghana’s eastern region, hinted that democracy is meaningless without prosperity.
Mr Jinapor told summit participants from across the continent and diaspora that with the right policies and collective effort, “democracy can unleash the much-needed prosperity for our people.”
He asserted that a country’s economic and political institutions determine its level of prosperity or lack thereof while revealing that the continent possesses all the elements necessary for prosperity and that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) serves as a catalyst for that prosperity.
As a result, he advocates for the promotion of a free society based on democratic principles and the rule of law, “including an independent judiciary to adjudicate disputes between the state and private citizens as well as among citizens; for without an independent judiciary, investors will lack confidence in our countries.”
“We must promote the private sector as a growth engine,” he said. “The rise of Japan and the Asian Tigers is ample evidence of the importance of the private sector in unlocking prosperity,” he added.
The minister says that for Africa to have the prosperity its people need, it needs people who are educated, skilled, and able.
“The technological revolution in Europe and America is largely attributed to a skilled and educated workforce. As a result, we must invest in our citizens’ education and promote our youth’s high sense of consciousness. We must educate our children to be active participants in all aspects of our respective national lives”, he added.
Adding his voice to the calls for a prosperous Africa, the secretary general of the world’s largest trade area, AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene was enthused that Africans are leading in telling their stories.
For him, the economic story of the continent has been told by westerners and thus it was time that Africans took the driving wheel of the narrative instead of being “passengers on the bus.”
The AfCFTA’s overarching goal is to create a single continental market with a population of approximately 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$ 3.4 trillion. The AfCFTA is a big part of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, which is the African Union’s long-term plan to turn the continent into a global powerhouse.
Part of the AfCFTA’s job is to eliminate trade barriers and boost trade within Africa. In particular, it is to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African economy.
While the AfCFTA contributes to establishing regional value chains in Africa, enabling investment and job creation, the Africa Prosperity Network’s dialogues seek to chart a narrative led by Africans.
“How do we chart a narrative that will reflect the interest of our continent, particularly when there are dialogues around the world about Africa and we are passengers of the narrative about us,” Mr Mene quizzed in his closing remarks Friday 27th January.
In his words, Mene said that the dialogue is the first of its kind led by Africans to advance Africa as part of the vision of the AfCFTA’s agenda 2030. The two days retreat saw the compilation of an outcome report consisting of pertinent issues that need to be looked at and calls to action. It is expected to be presented to the various heads of state at a presidential summit on 28th January.
Among the call to action is a recommendation that the ‘AfCFTA moves from ambition to action which includes African countries undertaking initiatives that support the private sector to take advantage of the preferential treatment that is provided under the AfCFTA.’
“The primary objective of this dialogue was to create our own narrative as Africans about Africa’s economic development,” he revealed. “That objective has been achieved as we are defining our own narrative based on actions we have taken in the last two years and those that we have to take going forward. I am immensely proud that we were able to achieve a resounding success in terms of the substantive discussions and the outcome of the last two days,” said.
By: Zubaida Mabuno Ismail/ Eastern Region.