The Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, has called on African entrepreneurs to use the knowledge they acquire on the internet to profile themselves in the manufacturing sector to boost the growth of the West African sub-region.
He added that with all the trade collaborations in the region namely; Africa –India, Africa –Canada, Africa- USA, Africa-Turkey, and Africa-China among others, the continent has not been able to profile itself for the industrialization of its people.
Africa, must be seen to be taking advantage of all these collaborations, ‘we need to position ourselves to know what we want out of these partnerships’ he said.
He said, it was about time the continent takes advantage of all these collaboration with the industrialized countries to boost the manufacturing sector of the region.
He noted that by so doing, jobs would be made available to the teeming youth population on the continent.
As it stands now, Africa has the largest youth population in the world and steps must be taken to find jobs for them he averred.
He said it about time the continent converts most its traders into industrialists to create jobs for these teeming youth population.
It is just not good for the continent to be importing and not manufacturing even though power is widely spread across the continent he maintained.
Dr. Spio-Gabrah, made these comments when he opened the First Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Industrial Summit held in Accra on the theme: “Promoting Industries to Accelerate the Industrialization of the West African sub-region.”
He urged leaders in the region to examine the industrialization efforts of the region to take steps and compete with the rest of the world.
He stressed West Africa has a lot of lands that can be transformed into industries to help solve some of these worrying youth unemployment.
He said Ghana in the 1960s was an electronic gadget manufacturing hub but all these were destroyed when the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was over thrown with the collaboration of foreign and local partners.
Touting some of the achievements Ghana has chalked in creating seamless trade in the sub-region, he said Ghana been home to a lot of Africans over the years, hence President John Dramani Mahama, was making it possible for all Africans with the Africa Union (AU) passport to travel to Ghana
He revealed that, Ghana was the only country in the world with over thirty slave forts and Castles.
According to him, this presupposes that Ghana was neck deep in the supply of manpower for the coffee and sugar cane plantations in Western world.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, in statement said in 2010, the commission adopted an industrial policy to double the production of raw materials by 15 to 30 percent in four priority areas in the region.
He mentioned the four areas as agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, automotive, as well as the development of the industrial sector.