Ghana hosted the 6th edition of the annual meeting of the Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) in Accra, on Thursday, November 25, 2021.
Organized under the theme: “Connecting African special economic zones to global value chains at the era of the African free trade area (AfCFTA),” the event was well attended by a number of African states.
This year’s meeting was held in partnership with Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA).
Speaking to the media on the side of the meeting, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed that a number of progress has been made since AfCFTA’s arrival.
“Trading has started, the various countries through the work of the secretariate are working to smoothing the process of trade between the various countries. It’s still in the process, its less than a year old, so its something which will take a while before it takes its full potential,” Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah stated.
According to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development bank, the agricultural sector in Africa was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic but is optimistic a number of strides will be made this year.
He said, “Farmers don’t go to their farms, a lot of logistics were broken but now I think Africa is getting back on track. Last year we went down -1% to GDP, it is projected to go up by 3.4% this year. Hopefully we should be ready to run for more agribusinesses.”
Amb. Michael Oquaye who spoke at the event also stated that the Ghana Free Zones Authority remains the anchor for Ghana’s Industrial Park and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) plan.
“We are looking at the various agencies under the ministry of trade and come together to be able to take advantage of a more connected Africa. Because we need to rely on ourselves more to help with the supply chain especially in the covid-19 era and that is the more reason why we are having this conference.
“We are here to talk about how we will get the lands ready, anybody who wants to produce need lands, raw materials, our challenge is how to get industrial lands in an economic zone, demarcation, roads, electricity, water, and how to make the place business-friendly and ready in a competitive manner to be able to work under Africa Continental Free Trade Area and to also learn from each other in terms of best practice and to compare this new trade dimension in a competitive business era,” he further stressed.
The colorful event saw the attendance of Mr. Fouad Brini, Honorary President of AEZO, H.E Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, H.E. Mrs. Carmen Ndaot, Minister of Investment Promotion, Gabon, Mr. Ahmed Bennis, Secretary-General of AEZO and other high-profile individuals.