The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Kadre Desire Onedrango, has expressed the preparedness and commitment of member countries to partner China not just in trade but in the manufacturing sector for a mutually beneficial relationship.
“ECOWAS yearns to be producers and not just traders”, he stressed when he addressed participants in the second China-ECOWAS Economic and Trade Forum in Accra.
Mr. Ouedraogo’s call comes in the wake of increasing made-in-china goods flooding the markets of member countries and threatening to cripple their industries and deepen poverty. Organized by the Ghana chamber of commerce, the forum sought to highlight investment opportunities in member countries of ECOWAS and how such opportunities could maximize the flow of foreign direct investment from china into ECOWAS. The forum was a follow-up to the first held in Beijing four years ago. ECOWAS is seeking direct foreign investment in the energy; health care; information communication technology, infrastructure in roads and railways; agriculture; mining; textiles and garments, among other sectors of the economy.
Mr. Ouedrago recalled that the inaugural forum, which took place in Beijing in 2008, ushered in a new era of greater opportunities for trade, development and economic cooperation between China and ECOWAS. Such a relationship, he stated must be on mutual benefits of two to create a win-win situation for both china and ECOWAS
“ECOWAS is ready and prepared to work with China in the context of the community’s vision 2020 so that together, we can take our relations to the next appreciable level that will be sustained with more actions and mutual benefits.
“We want to assure China and our private sector operators that ECOWAS will build with you a mutually beneficial and sustainable partnership through which the social and economic development of the people shall be and remain a first class priority”. Mr. Ouedraogo further stated.
The Vice President, Dr. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, described the forum as an excellent opportunity for Chinese and ECOWAS government officials, entrepreneurs and representatives of regional organizations to discuss and lay out a road map for mutual cooperation and development.
Dr. Mahama, who officially opened the one-day forum, observed that “the overall goal is to promote Chinese investments in West Africa and vice-versa on a win-win basis, by forgoing strategic partnerships in leading sectors of the regional economy”.
The minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Hanna Teteh, enumerated among other things, the resumption of Ghana’s garment and textile industry, particularly the Volta Star Textiles Limited, which now operated at only six percent of its capacity, the Northern Star Tomato Company and financial support for the establishment fund, which requires US $350 Million for its smooth implementation of the 18 projects identified under it.
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