United Bank for Africa- Ghana has held its 1st Bi-Annual United Bank for Africa Trade Forum in Accra to discuss issues concerning trade in Ghana and Africa.
Speaking on the theme ?Driving Regional Trade through Strategic Partnership? the MD/CEO for United Bank for Africa-Ghana Mrs. Abiola Bawauh said for any business to move from survival to thriving in this ever changing global business environment, it will require a paradigm shift from doing business as usual in its small corner within its home country to exploring and identifying cross-border trading opportunities.
She said UBA?s decision to organize and sponsor this trade conference is a testimony of the fact that UBA is a bank that has the growth and development of the African continent at heart hence the tagline: Africa?s global bank.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, he said there is a strong consensus among Africa leaders that regional integration is indispensable to unlock economies of scale and sharpen competitiveness. Despite the introduction of free trade areas, customs unions, and common markets within the region, the level of intra-Africa trade remains among the lowest in the world. Only about 10% of African trade is within the continent, compared to about 60% in Western Europe, 40% in North America, 40% in Asia and 25% in Latin America.
He expressed his appreciation to the United Bank for Africa-Ghana Limited for the foresight in promoting such a novel initiative and also for organizing and providing this platform for the relevant stakeholders in the field of finance and business to share ideas through brainstorming, and to come out with concrete measures to promote, enhance and boost regional trade through strategic partnerships formation.
He congratulated UBA for being one of the new generation banks that came to Ghana and brought some healthy competition into the Ghanaian financial landscape through the introduction of innovative products and systems.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export and Promotion Authority, Mr. Gideon Quarcoo said ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) serves as an operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a free trade area and its importance is to remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the Sub-Region.
He said banks in the sub-region have been ?reposition? as a strong partner for the private sector including SME development and has eliminate stringent lending conditions and high interest charges as they tend to limit the access of Africa traders to domestic credit needed to facilitate intra-regional trade. He therefore, advice UBA not to stop investing in infrastructural development.
He further touched on GEPA?s commitment to continually work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs And Regional Integration as well as Ghana?s Mission in ECOWAS countries to pursue this agenda of increased trade with ECOWAS countries.
UBA was started in 1948 with its headquarters in Lagos Nigeria. The bank offers a range of financial products and services in 19 African countries with representatives all over the world. The bank has 7 million customers globally with a total asset of $17.025b and total deposits of $ 14.315b as at 2013FYE.
Source: Henry Fordi-Spy Ghana