President John Evans Atta Mills, at the week-end said any attempts to initiate moves to boost trade within the Continent should first consider the youth and create opportunities for them to have gainful employment.
He said the youth were the continent's greatest resource and the welfare of the youth must be paramount to any trade mechanisms.
President Mills was delivering a keynote address at the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, on the theme: " Boosting Intra African Trade", underway in Addis Ababa
He asked African nations to find ways of eliminating issues constraining effective implementation of various trade agreements. President Mills called on African leaders to ensure that trade initiatives were better planned and coordinated for greater success.
He said the discussion on boosting intra-African trade was timely and opportune, and Africa could not continue to sit on the sidelines and watch.
The President said: "We have to take the giant steps that others have taken, to boost trade within our countries,ï¿½ because it is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of the continent.
He said unprecedented changes had occurred over the last decade in global economy, and that ï¿½global economic growth has been driven not by the industrialized nations of the Western world, but by the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America, and also the countries of our continent.ï¿½
The President said noted that there was change in traditional trading relationships and patterns, characterised by an increase in the individual member states of Africa importing more from India, China, Turkey and Brazil, than from the European Union and the United States of America.
President Mills said individual member states must reflect upon the change in order to have a thorough appreciation of the impacts of these developments on their economies.
He said trade was a powerful engine for economic growth as evidenced by developments in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, India and other East Asian economies.
President Mills, praised the Chinese President Hu Jin Tao for his strong attachment to Africa, with hope for greater Sino-African partnership.
He also thanked the Union for honouring the memory of Ghanaï¿½s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, with a statue that stands outside the newly outdoored AU building. "Ghana will forever be grateful for this everlasting gesture," the President said.
Earlier in the day, President Mills planted a tree at the forecourt of the building on behalf of Ghana.
The President together with Madam Samia Nkrumah, Chairperson of the Convention People's Party, presented the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award to Professor Oluwole Daniel Makinde of Nigeria for the Basic Sciences, Technology, and Prof. Maryke Tine Labuschagne, for the Life and Earth Science Award, conferred on the two by the Union.
Source: Benjamin Mensah, GNA Correspondent in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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