Mr. Robert Jackson, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, said Africa must add value to their exports in order to move to the next phase of development and job creation.
Speaking at the ECOWAS Industrial Summit Gala Dinner at the Banquet Hall in Accra, Mr. Jackson said there are tremendous opportunities for West Africa to develop and expand job intensive, value-added industries such as agribusiness, textiles and apparel.
He said, for the industry to succeed on the global stage, it needs complementary government policies that facilitate access to trained workers, affordable finance and power and industrial space.
World-class manufacturing requires world-class logistics hence US encourages ECOWAS and its member states to be leaders in ratifying the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Besides, the full implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme would help the region to develop the manufacturing base and economies of scale and productivity necessary to emerge as global producers.
“Import and export restrictions continue to be abused as tools to protect domestic industries at the expense of the single trading bloc,” Mr. Jackson said.
The US, he said is committed to work with the bloc to realize the vision to be the region of choice for growing mining and extracting for adding value for processing and manufacturing for customers and businesses around the world.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow-Spio Garbah said private investment had so many challenges that impede growth “because we come with different expectation and attitude towards industrialization, finance, technology, power and regional integration”.
He said the attitude towards industrialization and opportunities is what had made Africa suffering for the 15 years when the US market was opened to more than 5,000 product lines for the continent to gain preferential access to the market.
“We should persist, consult and partner with others in the line of industrialization,” he said.