Ghana just had its 58th Anniversary of independence on March 6th, celebrating its remarkable and historic achievement of being the first West African country, except Liberia to gain political independence. Because of these and other facts, Ghana is renowned for its deep roots in African history and economic integration. The importance of regional integration does not need to be emphasized for West Africa or Africa as a whole. For many small countries on the continent, even including Ghana, integration is an invaluable tool for global economic competitiveness and especially for securing a higher and sustainable quality of life for the people. In 1948, Africa accounted for about 8 percent of world exports, before losing it, dropping to about 2 percent around 2000. Fortunately, a recent boom and revival has brought it to about 3.2 percent. Trade among African countries as a share of total is at best about 15 percent, most people put it at about 10 percent, compared to about 60 percent in Europe and 40 percent in North America. A major problem is that Africa is probably the only continent where for the most part it produces what it does not consume and consumes what it does not produce. About 80 percent of Africa's exports are commodities and are shipped out of Africa, while about 90 percent of Africa's imports are finished goods shipped from outside Africa. Sadly, African commodities are bought at very low prices to produce finished goods sold to Africa at very high prices. As Ambassador Awinador-Kanyirige has said, Africa must find a way to actualize the vision of its leaders by harnessing all its resources from across Africa, and reaching to the diaspora, including the ancestral diaspora to be able to develop production value chains for stronger economic integration. In addition, our electoral processes must ensure that they produce the leadership and through this the institutions for fostering production and trade. To trade your own goods, you must first produce them, otherwise you remain an agent for foreign goods. I commend the new vision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is now promoting a community of peoples and not simply of states. As I have been emphasizing, the Refined Economic Development (RED) in Africa community strategies we are developing at the EBS can help promote Africa's integration from the bottom up, building community of peoples and not merely of governments. Africa must seek new solutions. I am Magnus Kpakol, and that is my view.
Posted: Mar 17th, 2015 @ 08:14:36 AM