Companies urged to thrive on regional integration
By GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFRICAN countries should embrace regional integration initiatives like the Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA), that is expected to create a market of $2,6 trillion.South Africa Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, madethe recommendation during the Trade and Investment seminar that coincided with his three day visit to Accra, Ghana, where he is leading an investment delegation.
Masina said access to markets as fellow African countries served as adraw-card for direct investments.It also served to transform the region and Africa from small fragmented markets to one large market where companies can achieve economies ofscale, lower production costs and ultimately global competitiveness.
“We need to build industrial and manufacturing capacity in each other’seconomies. Furthermore, the importance of sound investment ininfrastructure development in terms of roads, rail, ports,telecommunications and the removal of regulatory barriers that have anegative impact on movements of goods and services cannot beover-emphasised,”
Masina said.The FTA will combine the markets of 26 countries in Africa with apopulation of nearly 600 million people and a combined GDP of $1 trillion.This will form the basis for an Africa-wide Free Trade Agreement, which is expected to create a market of $2.6 trillion.
The FTA will integrate the countries from the South African DevelopmentCommunity, the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market forEastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Kweku Hagan, said the infrastructure required to drive Ghana economy into a fullscale national development trajectory was massive.
This, he said, presented a huge opportunity for foreign direct investmentsinto that sector especially from South Africa.
Hagan urged South African businesspeople to look into a partnershiparrangement for the development of the Accra Plains irrigation project andthe infrastructure development projects such as free economic zones asthey presented useful settings and incentives for investors.- CAJ News
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