Former Ghana High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, says the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) would be key in unlocking Africa’s economic potentials.
He made this assertion during the Fireside Chat Series organised by the Institute for International Affairs, Ghana (GhIIA.org).
In addressing the role of international trade in Ghana’s development, the diplomat asserted that, African countries must be smart to take their destinies into their own hands, if they are to achieve global competitiveness in international trade.
This, he notes, would address the perennial challenges that bedevil African countries’ attempts to thrive in the global market.
“The nature of the world economic order is such that, finished products of African countries face tariff and non-tariff barriers in accessing Western markets. Even if such products are able to surmount tariff barriers, they then face the steep walls of certification and patronage”, he stated.
“With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, African countries have a unique opportunity to transform themselves from producers of raw materials in the world economy, into major hubs of manufacturing,” he said.
The former Attorney General argued that, Africa’s large population would afford a vibrant market for Africa’s finished products, thereby making the continent independent.
He however indicated that, for Africa, particularly the West African sub-region to properly integrate and take advantage of these opportunities, linguistic barriers would have to be overcome.
He therefore stressed the need for Ghana to take French seriously and asserted that, French can be best assimilated when started from an early age.
He charged policy makers, parents and all stakeholders to make French a core experience of the education of the Ghanaian child policy.
A former Ghanaian Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, and a guest at the event, Esther Ofori, added her voice to calls to give French more importance.
“One thing we can observe is that, unlike most Francophone countries whose citizens could speak a considerable amount of English, it appears Ghanaians can speak very little French”, she observed.
“This could limit career opportunities for Ghanaians in global institutions,” she added, stressing the need for French to assume more importance in Ghana’s education curriculum.
The GhIIA Fireside Chat Series is a platform that provides key players in Ghana’s International Affairs landscape an opportunity to share their experiences and reflections on their storied careers with the members of the GhIIA.
The latest episode was moderated by Mr. Cherk Klutse, Head of programs and outreach at the GhIIA.