Ebenezer Asante, Senior Vice President, MTN Group has called for an end to what he calls the ‘tyranny of sovereignty’ to allow ease of trade across Africa.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2024 African Prosperity Dialogue taking place in Accra, Ghana.
Mr. Asante made this call during a panel discussion on the topic, “Doing Business Differently – Adding Value to What We Produce.”
He encouraged industry players as well as governments from across Africa to support cross-border trade by breaking down barriers and opening up for trade.
He applauded the government’s decision to facilitate visa-free travel within Africa whilst bemoaning the challenges Africans face in making cross-border payments and transactions.
“The tyranny of sovereignty must end to allow proper trade and ease of doing business across West Africa. Technology continues to transform the way we trade, and we must leverage the immense opportunities it presents to trade within our borders.
The tyranny of sovereignty is an impediment to progress because with our borders closed to each other, we cannot foster seamless trade. African countries must open their borders to each other to allow intercontinental trade,” he said.
He said, “Undoubtedly, technology is an enabler of growth, and we must understand its influence and crucial role in tackling our challenges and leapfrogging our development. Africa is lagging behind in productivity and one way to change this narrative is through technology. We cannot continue to do business the same way. We need to rethink our approach in order to move forward.”
Referring to the disruption caused by COVID and geopolitical tensions that have affected trade, he noted that we must reposition ourselves as a continent to take advantage of our position in this crisis and allow it to positively impact the way we trade.
At the event, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, expressed the commitment of the Government of Ghana to ensure free movement of all Africans coming into Ghana to facilitate seamless cross border trade on the continent.
The African Prosperity Dialogues is a three-day event being held under the theme “Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce Add Value. Trade.
The dialogue brings together government and business leaders from across Africa and beyond to exchange ideas on key issues and solutions needed to build and harness Africa’s growth.