Africa needs heavy investment in the development of transport and communication networks to open up the continent and promote intra-regional trade, Mr Osei Gyasi, the Director of Banking Supervision, Bank of Ghana, said on Friday.
Mr Gyasi was speaking at the Ghana Credit Excellence Awards and Presidential Ball, 2021, organised by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), Ghana in Accra.
It was on the theme: “Leveraging the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) to Boost Ghana’s Economic Development: The Role of The Financial Services Sector.”
He said shipping and airlines on the continent should be revamped for member countries to take advantage of the expected increases in the movements of goods and people.
“But such increased investments can only take place when the financial sector is positioned to carry out effective intermediation at relatively low cost and within a stable macroeconomic environment,” he added.
Mr Gyasi said the CICM needed commendation for the good job done over the years to promote professional competence in sound credit risk management in Ghana.
He said it was instructive to note that credit risk constituted about 70 per cent of the Basel Pillar One risks in banking operations and that the Bank of Ghana was, therefore, supportive of the Institute’s critical role in building capacity of the financial services sector in credit risk management.
“This is very topical and relevant to current developments even as the global economy gradually recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Mr Gyasi said as the host of AfCFTA, Ghana was gradually being repositioned as a financial and trade hub in Africa and that the policy strategy was to strengthen the economic and financial pillars to support that broad agenda.
The global supply disruptions that occurred due to the pandemic-related restricted movements laid bare the need to promote an intra African trade hub through trade facilitation measures such as the AfCFTA, he said.
The significant policy reforms associated with the AfCFTA will also reduce trade costs to help member countries diversify exports and support value addition, accelerate growth, and attract foreign direct investments, Mr Gyasi said.
He said lowering tariffs under AFCFTA was only the first step and that subsequent steps of substantial policy reforms on non-tariff and trade facilitation measures would require strong commitment at the national levels.
The opportunities and benefits that would accrue from the AfCFTA could be leveraged to implement the additional reforms needed to make Africa a competitive destination in the world.
“Ghana stands to benefit as a member of AfCFTA if we can develop the needed competences to expand the manufacturing and agro-processing base, driven by high quality and competitively priced products,” he said.
Mrs Helen Obeng-Okon, the President of the CICM, urged the new fellows to work passionately in the interest of the Institute to advance credit management for national development.