The journey for Africa’s own version of the much-touted DAVOS, - the World Economic Forum which engages global political and corporate leaders, investors, economists and celebrities in the mountainous resort in Switzerland with the goal to shaping the world, - kick-started on Tuesday, May 24th with the media launch in Accra’s Marriot Hotel.
Dubbed the “Kwahu Summit”, it has been deliberately designed to offer the appropriate platform for African Heads of State, astute business leaders on the continent to gather each year to expedite the implementation of the agreed initiatives within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) bloc.
Spearheaded by a non-profit Africa=focused organization, the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), who are partnered by the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Government of the Republic of Ghana, and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the maiden summit is slated to be held at the Rock City on the Kwahu hills in the Eastern Region on October 28th and 29th, this year.
The “Kwahu Summit” will be under the theme “AfCFTA: From Ambition to Action; Delivering Prosperity Through Continental Trade”.
In his remarks, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who represented the President of the Republic, reiterated government’s support for a leadership platform in the mould of the “Kwahu Summit” where leading Africans in business, politics, academia will convene to contribute, connect and commit to reconstructing the African narrative for a uniformed prosperity.
“….if you pay attention to the thought leadership conversation that is currently going on, you will find that there are some parts of the world where more time is spent talking, discussing and stimulating conversations about what is possible and what can be achieved. If we stretch our minds a bit more what this platform will do is to challenge all of Africa and all of us to strive to do some more together and leverage the kind of opportunities and resources around to do more.
“We [government] think that it is a very important conversation that you are stimulating on this platform and we celebrate you for this,” he said.
The minister further stated that though the AfCTA secretariat is in Ghana, “it will take a deliberate act that seeks to engineer or stimulate trade relationships, the building of networks among ourselves to really turn the tide of our international trade from outside the continent into the African continent and to trade between ourselves. And what you are doing is actually creating the platform and bringing together the people to achieve this…”
Speaking to Peacefmonline.com on the sidelines of the media launch, the Chairperson for APN and Senior Partner, Africa Legal Associates, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, believed Africa is blessed with the resources to strike fear in the heart of the world but an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to achieve this.
Asked how the “Kwahu Summit” through APN can thrive even where the mighty AfCTA appears to be floundering as it is still bedevilled with the ever-present bureaucratic red tape, increased conflicts on the continent and extreme protectionism (as some government’s continue to create trade barriers and tariffs to defend their market against regional competition), Mr Otchere-Darko alluded to the success story of the European Union (EU) despite its initial setbacks.
“In 1957, Europe started the EU with six nations and it was not until years later that other countries became part of it. In just this few years since AfCTA rolled out, look at the numbers and the commitment….it is the business person or investor who will be directly involved in the trading process, not the politicians. So this conversation that the politicians have initiated, the business community is the right source to own it and move it forward. And here, we are not only talking about multi-national companies, that is why we settled on Kwahu became the Kwahu indigenes are considered or noted for being resourceful people business-wise…..
“The AU have tasked themselves to meet certain targets regarding free trade on the continent in 10years, consequently, there should be a convergence point for these African leaders, business community, Africans in the diaspora annually to assess and review previous action plans and the way forward and that is what the Kwahu Summit offers.
"Kwahu itself offers people of Africa our own DAVOS….. and we have a lot to let the world be afraid of us. We need not go a-begging (certainly not with the human and natural resources at our disposal)…. if we come together, think together, plan together and work together, there’s nothing we cannot achieve. We need to own the narrative first….,” he stated.
On his part, His Excellency Wamkele Mene who is the Executive Secretary of AfCFTA, declared the Secretariat’s support for the "Kwahu Summit" and urged that the Summit effectively engages the full range of sustainable development actors, governments, and businesses to explore how to accelerate the AfCFTA implementation as well as the explore the kind of economic development vision Africa must have for decades to come.
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