President Akufo-Addo has expressed Africa’s preparedness to engage in business with the global investor community.
According to him, 2022 is billed as Africa’s Year to take action on food and nutrition development goals. As such, there is the urgency to see the current geopolitical crisis confronting nations globally as an opportunity to rely less on food imports from outside the continent and use better of its sixty per cent global share of arable lands to increase food production.
The President noted that is a renewed commitment towards an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and economic integration and the intensity of the challenges is only matched by the immensity of the opportunity before everyone. He stated that the current leaders of Africa, should be determined not to waste the crisis that confronts them.
Speaking at the 77th gathering of the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Akufo-Addo revealed the devastating impact of relying on Russia and Ukraine for seventy per cent of Africa’s wheat consumption. He explained that there is enough land, water, gas and enough manpower to produce enough fertiliser, food and energy for Africans and for others.
“But, we also recognise that we cannot do it all by ourselves. Our message to the global investor community is, therefore, this: Africa is ready for business. Africa needs you and you need Africa. You need Africa because Africa is busily building the world’s largest single market of 1.3 billion people.”President Akufo-Addo
Africa’s prospects in industrialization
President Akufo-Addo highlighted that Africa will soon have a customs union and have a continental payment system that will accelerate and facilitate trade amongst African countries. Already, he noted that goods and services are flowing more freely across artificial borders.
Subsequently, he charged countries around the world to see Africa for what it is, as “the new frontier for manufacturing, for technology, for food production”.
“That is why six years ago, I launched in Ghana the successful policy of ‘One District One Factory’. A policy, with government incentives, that has directly seen, so far, some one hundred and twenty-five (125) factories being set up in various districts across the country, leveraging on each area’s competitive advantage. That is why, six years ago, my government embarked on an aggressive policy of planting for food and jobs, which has helped our farmers increase their yields in folds. Indeed, we are recognising that many of the things we import can be found or produced in Ghana, or in other African countries.”President Akufo-Addo
Commenting on the African Continental Free Trade Area, President Akufo-Addo emphasized that it is driving intra-Africa trade and creating an unparalleled momentum for the continent’s economic diversity and transformation. He emphasized that industrialisation is the way to go and, with the single market as the added incentive, government has taken policy measures in Ghana to add value to its natural resources.
“For example, we are processing more of our cocoa, refining more of our gold, and we are determined to exploit the entire value chain of our huge lithium deposits. We are busily building an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry and an integrated iron and steel industry, building new oil refineries and have, so far, attracted six of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers to set up assembling plants in Ghana, prior to producing them in the country.”President Akufo-Addo
In line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), President Akufo-Addo revealed that Africa’s ambition is to transform its food systems over the next decade, anchored in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth.
To this end, he expressed the need for support from the investor community for the rolling out of Africa’s lucrative agro-industry. Additionally, he explained that it is imperative for the community to see agribusiness in Africa as much more of an opportunity than the “perceived, exaggerated risk which has been the false, but dominant narrative”.