Ghana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TradeMark Africa (TMA) for the development of trading infrastructure along the Abidjan-Lagos corridor to boost intra-Africa trade.
The signing of the agreement on the corridor that connects Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria and accounts for more than 75 per cent of West Africa’s trade, occurred on the back of the just ended Africa Prosperity Summit.
It occurred at Peduase in the Eastern Region of Ghana and coincided with the rebranding of the company from TradeMark East Africa to TradeMark Africa and the expansion of its business operations in West Africa.
It also demonstrated the commitment and determination of the parties to improve trade related infrastructure and environment to enhance the performance of the Abijan-Lagos corridor to support intra-African trade as envisioned by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Herbert Krapa, signed for Ghana, with Mr Erastus Mwencha, the Board Chairman of TMA signing for his company, and was witnessed by the Caretaker Minister of Trade, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor and Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, AfCFTA Secretariat.
The development of the trade infrastructure is expected to reduce the time and costs of trading across borders, improve export competitiveness of African businesses and the integration of the $3.4 trillion African market under AfCFTA.
Mr Jinapor said the initiative by Trademark Africa would support actions taken by African governments to advance trade facilitation and custom clearance of goods and people through various ports and land borders.
Mr Jinapor, who is also the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, noted that easing of the burden of cross border trading on land borders, especially for Micro and Small Enterprises remained a major challenge on the African continent.
He said it was, therefore, necessary to establish functional joint border posts to bridge the language barrier between Anglophone Ghana and its Francophone neighbours, which he said was the surest means citizens and small businesses could successfully share in the benefits of AfCFTA.
However, he was confident that TMA’s initiative was uniquely placed to ensure better custom cooperation and facilitation of trade especially among the continent’s most important trade corridors including the Abidjan-Lagos corridor.
“AfCFTA places an historic responsibility in our respective Governments to make this happen without further delay, especially now that we have technical and funding support to implement our joint border project. This could truly be an example of moving AfCFTA from ambition to action,” Mr Jinapor said.
Mr Mwencha, who described Africa as a sleeping giant due to its yet to be tapped into vast potentials, said the continent had now come closer to the dream of becoming prosperous through deepened intra-continental trade.
He said the partnership would enable TMA to expand its impactful programming progressively and support the AfCFTA to unleash the immense impact of free trade in high-value products on the continent.
Mr Mwencha, a former Deputy Chairman of the African Union Commission, said the company would focus on facilitating the development of digital and green trade corridors to position Africa as a partner of choice for global off-takers.
He emphaised that the company’s activities would be aimed at promoting inclusive trade to reduce the poverty levels and ensures that vulnerable groups were more integrated into the trading systems on the continent.
For his part, Mr Mene said: “We shall adopt a corridor-to-corridor approach in reforming the transit processes and improve the collective competitiveness of all the trade corridors on the continent.”