Stakeholders in the trade and industry sector of the Volta Region have expressed readiness to take advantage of the numerous opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
They however, appealed to the government to resolve challenges impeding the progress of the sector which they believe would affect the effective implementation of the African intra-trade initiative.
The industry players appealed at the Volta Regional AfCFTA Conference in Ho.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides a single-window borderless market across the 55 countries on the continent, aimed at promoting intra-trade and growing the economy of the continent.
In a bid to ensure effective participation, the national AfCFTA coordination office embarked on a sensitization drive for industry players across the country.
At the Volta Regional edition, the National Coordinator of AfCFTA Dr. Fareed Kwesi Arthur said the initiative has the potential of turning around the country’s fortune if taken advantage of.
He underscored that the region has got potential and when harnessed would inure to enormous benefits.
“You have all the resources, you are at a very strategic position, you have the border, so there is a huge amount of potential. Let us just turn that potential into something tangible and you will see the number of people who will come here”, he explained.
Though participants lauded the initiative, they raised concerns about bad road networks among other challenges identified to impede the effective implementation of AfCFTA.
The Volta and Eastern Regional Chair of the Association of Ghana Industries, Dela Gadzabku, said that stakeholders have already set the pace to promote the growth of the region’s industry by organizing the annual Trade and Investment Fair.
He, however, outlined deficiencies in transportation, raising concerns about the deplorable state of the region’s major road network, putting the Eastern Corridor Road and Ho-Denu stretches in perspective.
He also highlighted the lack of infrastructure and machinery to help add value to raw materials in the region.
“We are fortunate to have an airport, so we need to operate the airport. If our regional economy grows, it means that the airport should be enhanced, and it will work. We are talking about the railway, even though we are told that it will pass through Ho to Hohoe, maybe in the next 10 to 15 years, we will get it working. So we have an advantage as a region” he explained.
The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, said the region is positioning itself to reap the benefits of industrialization, hence engaged the AfCFTA coordination office towards this year’s Volta Trade and Investment Fair.
He disclosed that plans are underway to facelift major road networks in the region, outlining portions of the Eastern Corridor Road, Ho-Denu Road, and some road networks in the Adaklu District.
He said budgeting and drawing of an asphaltic surfacing of the Ho-Denu have been presented to the Roads Ministry waiting for approval.
“We are waiting for approval and funding for works to commence on the Ho-Denu road. Barely 90 kilometers”, he said.
The 5th regional AfCFTA conference brought together players in small and medium-scale industries.
They were lectured on the African intra-trade initiative, its framework and action plan, and enormous opportunities for Ghanaian producers to export their products.