President Nana Akufo-Addo has impressed on his fellow African leaders the need to realign their respective economic policies to add value to raw materials produced on the continent.
He believes the virtual neglect of this principle has deprived most African countries from the global trade and as a result affected their competitiveness.
Citing the relatively lower benefits accruing to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the cocoa industry, the President also stressed that a change in the status quo is inevitable.
Nana Addo made the remarks in an interview with Bloomberg in the USA at the sidelines of the General Assembly of the UN in New York.
“We have a globalized trading system that frown on protectionism and quite rightly I think that all of us are in agreement that as a general principle, free trade benefits everybody in it. But you enter the trading system at different levels of it and how to make sure that we are competitive with our enterprises and can produce the higher value products that the world economy requires,” he asserted.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire control about 60 percent of the world’s output of cocoa.
Despite this, the two countries jointly commanded revenue of about 5 billion dollars in 2015.
This measures against a global market value of 100 billion dollars for chocolate; produced from cocoa.
A situation, President Akufo-Addo admits is unfavourable for the two economies hence must be changed with a pragmatic effort to invest heavily.
“We have to find a way out to be able to connect the raw material to the finished products; that is where the value is and so far we have been either out of negligence on our part or the difficulties of mobilizing the financing and the technology, we’ve not been able to do it. I think that this generation of African leaders, these are the issues that we should look at.”
Meanwhile Ghana is set to engage its neighbours, Ivory Coast to discuss ways of improving the lot of cocoa farmers plus earn more from the cash crop via value addition.
According to the President, the commitment to purpose demonstrated by the two countries should spur further discussions and enhance collaborations.
“We must a much more collaborative arrangement with Cote d’Ivoire as to our marketing policy as well as how to develop domestic use of the things that we do and if we are responsible for 60 percent of the world’s output of cocoa, we should have much greater leverage on pricing than we have at the moment…These are all the matters that if we sit around the table together, we look at, we will be able to take the more intelligent decisions for both of us in the long run,” he added.
By: Pius AmihereEduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana