Government opens up to private sector to solve logistical challenges

Dr Stephen Amoah, a Deputy Finance Minister, has articulated the government’s readiness to partner with value chain stakeholders to solve logistical challenges in the country to boost intra-African trade.

Such collaboration, Dr Amoah said would be critical in making Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) thrive in the country, while boosting their participation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He was speaking with the media after a forum on ‘Making logistics work for Ghanaian SMEs to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area,’ in Accra on Tuesday, April 16.

The event was organised by Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and CUTS International, as part of efforts to streamline activities to make SMEs reap the benefits under AfCFTA.

The Deputy Finance Minister stated that deepening efforts to invest heavily in logistics infrastructure would also help businesses in neighbouring African countries to trade easily and fast with Ghana.

He, therefore c
alled on all stakeholders to pool their energies and resources and push for a common cause of enhancing extremely efficient and effective logistics system that will support businesses to grow sustainably.

Dr Amoah noted that while logistical facilitation of trade between two countries elsewhere, were often seamless, the situation was different among many African countries.

He stated that, ‘now, more than ever, it has become necessary for all stakeholders to come together for Ghana to open a new chapter in prioritising logistical infrastructure development.

The Deputy Finance Minister said the Government would provide the enabling regulatory framework and other material and human resources to ensure that the country built an effective logistical system, particularly for SMEs to trade.

‘Finance, agriculture, and trade are very key, but you can’t have a successful trade without efficient and effective logistics management system, and we’re be ready to support you as a government,’ Dr Amoah said.

He also enc
ouraged businesses, policy Think-Tanks, and academia to increase collaboration with the government to build a logistical system work devoid of any leakages and corruption.

Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Director, West African Regional Centre, CUTS International, reiterated the importance of stakeholder collaboration to address the issue of trade logistics.

‘AfCFTA will not become successful if we do not address the issue of trade logistics, but this is something that the Government alone cannot do; it involves the private sector too,’ he said.

He, however, noted that, ‘it is when the Government creates the enabling framework, the private sector will be able to take advantage of it.’

Mr Kusi Adomako encouraged African governments to increase the pace of connecting road networks, ensuring favourable shipment, and having carriers that would facilitate the movement of persons and goods.

A 2023 African Development Bank report showed that about 53 per cent of roads on the continent were tarred, though it carried 80 p
er cent of goods and 90 per cent of passenger traffic.

Also, railways, many of which were developed during the colonial period have not been maintained properly and were not also designed to support the transport of goods for intra-African trade.

The AfDB report also showed that only 13 African countries had direct flight to some 20 neighbouring countries, with about five per cent of the passenger and cargo aircrafts out of the 230 airlines operating in Africa.

Mr Kusi Adomako called for an urgent and pragmatic approach to tackle all sectors of transport logistics to facilitate the successful implementation of the intra trade pact.

‘If for instance, we were to have a railway line from Tema-to-Abidjan, then, we’ll see the benefit of the intra-continental free trade agreement,’ he said.

Ms Sofia Kamarudeen, Ghana Component Lead, GIZ, stated that the idea of the dialogue was to delve deeper into logistics, and present a strong recommendation to the government to help solve the challenges.

‘We’re committed
to this topic, which is a long-term ambitious project for Africa. We will continue to support institutions to create more platforms, which will further boost the dialogue and the progress made towards that,’ she said.

Source: Ghana News Agency