Cement Manufacturers Urged to Publish Recommended Retail Prices

ACCRA, 18 JANUARY, 2024
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana (COCMAG) have agreed to periodically hold consultative meetings with industry players on developments in cement manufacturing, bagging and distribution, especially prior to the announcement of ex-factory price changes by the individual companies.

The Minister called the meeting to express concern about the rising cost of cement at the retail end and its adverse economic impact on the economy.  The Minister wondered how a bag of cement could be selling at GHS95.00 in some parts of the country, even around the Accra/Tema Municipalities.

The Minister entreated the industry to take cognizance of the widespread effects of price escalation and the need to closely monitor and exercise control over the recommended ex-factory price margins of distributors and retailers of their respective grades of products across the country.

Specific measures agreed on for urgent implementation include the following:

  • Individual companies to publish the recommended distribution and retail prices of the various grades of products sold in each of their respective distribution zones.
  • Vigorously enforce quality standards and weights of cement products on the market to clamp down on the production and distribution of substandard cement products.
  • Collaborate on exploring the possibility of introducing a uniform cement pricing formula that ensures uniformity and consistency in retail pricing across the country, taking into account key cost variables.

The Ministry would like to assure the consuming public that these and any other measures necessary will be implemented in collaboration with the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana, to ensure price adjustments are justifiable and within reasonable limits.

ISSUED BY:
Head, Communication and Public Advocacy
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Accra

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Reduce your prices to help make life bearable for Ghanaians – K.T. Hammond

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond (MP), has made a passionate appeal to the Ghanaian trading, commercial and industrial fraternity to reduce their prices and help make life a little bearable for the consumer. He says doing so will be part of their corporate social responsibility to their consumers and the country as a whole.

The Minister, who made the appeal during the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Accra, also noted that Government will equally reciprocate the gesture by establishing the appropriate economic framework and conducive ambience for their businesses and the nation to thrive. Hon K.T. Hammond recalled the recurrent theme in public discourse which centres on the excessive profit that some in the business community make. Whilst acknowledging the fact that he was neither unappreciative of the various cost and input factors of production, nor the effect of the dollarisation of the economy with its cascading effect on the prices of products,  as well as the plaintive cries about the taxes and levies paid to Government, the Minister wondered whether these are the all reasons why the cost of living in Ghana is so unacceptably high.

The Minister however, had no issues with any efforts to make decent profits, and called on the Chamber and its members not to harbour the erroneous belief that there is a radical ignorance in the people about what some term as “the abnormal or super-normal” profits some of them make. He recounted a recent story about some High Street shops and supermarkets in some jurisdictions which took a collective decision not to pass on to the already overstretched consumers extra cost which they would normally have had to pay. He said the enterprises decided to absorb the  costs to help ease the burden of the consumer as their collective corporate social responsibility to the public.

Turning to the theme of the AGM, “Building Business Confidence in the Midst of Economic Challenges”, he noted that much of the economic soundness of yesteryears has been disrupted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, which have presented the world with the most significant set of challenges since World War II. He observed that on the back the two crises, coupled with other longer-term trends, the world faces pervasive challenges, which will likely slow growth and create significant difficulties for leaders around the globe for some time to come.

According to the Minister, all is not that gloomy, as the Bank of Ghana reports that economic growth was quite strong in the First Half of 2023, with data released by  the Ghana Statistical Service further indicating that real GDP growth was 3.2 percent in the 2nd Quarter of 2023, marginally down from 3.3 percent in the 1st Quarter and 3.5 percent in the same period last year. He called for innovative thinking, and investments in research and development, particularly in industries that have demonstrated growth potential. He also noted that government is encouraging innovation by creating programs that incentivise entrepreneurship and small business development.

The Minister revealed that Government, upon realising that complicated regulatory environments can encourage disinvestment, has tried to demystify the investment regime by simplifying the legislative framework surrounding it. He said Ghana’s Business Regulatory Reform Strategy sought to institutionalise policy reform measures to encourage the private sector to invest in industrial ventures, create more jobs, and promote interventions in support of innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Hon K.T.Hammond, Government is making progress in implementing a comprehensive and integrated programme for industrial transformation with initiatives such as the ‘1 District 1 Factory’ policy – to transform the structure of Ghana’s economy from dependency on the import and export of raw materials to one focused on manufacturing, value addition and export of processed goods. He revealed that at the last count, a Hundred and Sixty-nine (169) factories were operational, with the number expected to increase next year.

Among others, the Minister also noted that over a relatively short span of 3 years of a deliberate policy intervention to create a new automotive sector, Ghana is now recognized as an emerging hub for vehicle assembly, with the country currently hosting 6 vehicle assembly plants producing 11 vehicle brands including Volks Wagen, Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, KIA and Hyundai.

He assured the gathering that Government would continue to implement transformative initiatives in key strategic sectors which would anchor the country’s vision of industrialisation, and called on them to continue to keep faith in the Government, support Government initiatives with their constructive inputs and know-how and enrich the reform programmes with their experience to help build the most business-friendly economy in Africa.

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Ghana and Danish Company to Explore Opportunities of Assembling Electric Vehicles in Ghana

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with a Danish private limited company, Byteblocs International, to promote the investment and development of an Aluminum Recycling and Components Manufacturing Plant (which will include Lithium batteries), LED Lighting and Electric mobility vehicles manufacture in Ghana.

The signing ceremony took place when Ghana’s Ambassador to Denmark, H.E. Sylvia Annoh, led a Danish business delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond. Hon. K.T. Hammond initialed for the Ministry, whilst Jakob Munkgaard Andersen signed on behalf of Byteblocs.

The Parties agreed that the implementation of the Project contemplated by the agreement would be subject to the receipt of all applicable governmental, regulatory, and other approvals that may be required as per the laws and regulations of the respective countries of each Party and each Party’s internal regulations including but not limited to Standards and Certification.

As part of its responsibilities under the MoU, the Byteblocs will take into consideration sustainable and environmentally friendly production systems, skills development, and the transfer of technology to Ghanaians, including partnerships with local suppliers and distributors and training for employees and agents. The project will also include the setting up aftersales stations or centres across the country.

On its part, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and its agencies and relevant authorities, is to assist the Project in identifying suitable land for acquisition, as well as offer relevant incentives and regulatory support to the Project in line with the relevant policies and laws of Ghana. The Ministry also undertook to assist the company to acquire, residence and working permits in Ghana, including visas for planning and commencement activities.

The MoU will remain in effect for a period of five (5) years, even though either Party may terminate it at any time by giving the other Party thirty (30) days’ written notice.

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Ghana is fully committed to improving the lives of women in Cross-Border trade – Trade Minister

The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Oheneba Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei has reiterated the government’s commitment and preparedness to work on policies that will improve the lives of women Small Scale Cross Border Traders in the country. This was said in a speech read on her behalf at a three-day sensitization workshop organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission with other relevant industry players at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.

The objective of the workshop was to facilitate cross-border trade and improve the operations of small-scale traders by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of trade and related Community text and initiatives. It will also serve as a feedback mechanism to receive information from the traders and other stakeholders.

According to her, cross-border trade has become an integral source of income for many women, which has contributed to the economic empowerment and improvement  of the living conditions of families, hence the need to support them. She stressed that the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry remains committed to support the ECOWAS Commission to facilitate trade in the sub-region to the benefit of ECOWAS member states.

Ghana is fully committed to improving outcomes for women in trade. What we have done is to mainstream gender in Trade Policy formulation and implementation. Working in collaboration with the World Bank Group, the Ministry of Trade and Industry launched the Gender Sub-Committee of the NTFC on November 15, 2021” she said. “One of the key responsibilities of the sub-committee was to sensitize Women Small Scale Cross Border Trader on trade protocols in the sub-region as well as emerging multilateral and bilateral trade agreements” she added.

The Minister emphasized that women serve as the grassroots ambassadors for cross-border cooperation and can help strengthen economic ties between neighboring countries. She lauded the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders for organizing the workshop which she believed would go a long way to make Cross-Border trading less stressful and achieved its desired goal for the economy.

In a message read on behalf of the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social protection, Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah said, empowering women is the most necessary action to take in improving sustainable national development. “Once women are equipped in knowledge on business operations, it helps them to function effectively. A self- employed woman can contribute not only to family finances but the Nation’s GDP as a whole. Women often make up a substantial portion of small-scale cross-border traders therefore such sensitization efforts can promote gender equality by providing them with knowledge and right resources to engage in trade activities confidently” she said.

The ECOWAS representative to Ghana, Ambassador Baba Gana WAKIL, launching the event, highlighted the challenges women traders face in their business which includes complex customs clearance procedures, documentation requirements, harassment, as well as irregular fee collection. These challenges, he said, had significantly hindered the development of their businesses with an overall impact to intra-regional trade and income per capita. It is the expectation of ECOWAS Commission that the three-day training,  will promote the operation of small-scale women traders in a hassle-free and secure environment with a notable reduction in harassment against women.

 

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Trade and Industry Minister Commissions Ghana-EU Housing units for Farmers under (BAM) Project

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has commissioned a 224 on-farm housing units on the plantation of Golden Exotic Limited (GEL) at Kasunya/Asutsuare in the Shai Osoduku District of the Greater Accra Region.

In a speech read on behalf of the sector minister, Hon Nana Ama Dokuaa Asiamah-Adjei, Deputy Minister responsible for International Trade, said the newly constructed housing units are equipped with modern facilities aimed at ensuring a comfortable living for farmers and their families under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM). In addition, the houses have been designed with a focus on their functionality and sustainability which feature energy-efficient electricity systems, water treatment plant and a community Centre.

Hon. Oheneba Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei noted  that the completion of the 224 housing units marks a long-awaited, yet significant milestone in the journey towards creating a thriving farming community in Ghana. “The European Union and the Government of Ghana look forward to continuing their fruitful partnership to further empower farmers, contribute to sustainable rural development, and improve the overall quality of life in the agricultural sector” she said.

She emphasizes that access to decent and affordable housing plays a crucial role in creating a conducive environment for farmers to thrive and contribute effectively to the agricultural sector. By providing farmers with these housing units, the BAM project is aimed to address the pressing issue of rural poverty and homelessness within the farming community. The project is part of the broader Banana Accompanying Measures Program, which prioritized the development of the agricultural sector while enhancing social welfare within the farming community.

She expressed government’s appreciation for the European Union’s support for the project. “We are proud to have collaborated with the European Union in realizing this important project. The housing units will unlock potential and enhance the agricultural productivity of the farmers. This is an embodiment of the shared vision for rural development and poverty reduction, which lies at the core of our collaboration” She added. It was revealed that the European Union concluded a deal with Latin America and the USA in 2009 to settle 15 years of their Banana-trade disputes, the agreed cuts in EU Tariffs for banana’s imported from Latin American countries increased competition for African and Caribbean banana exporters. The BAM was therefore introduced to help African and Caribbean banana exporting countries remain competitive in the EU market.

In 2013, the EU and the Government of Ghana (represented by the Ministry of Finance) signed a Financing Agreement (FA) for the BAM package at a total cost of €7.2 million Euros to support the Ghana’s Banana Industry. European Union Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Irchad Razaaly, highlighted the significance of the partnership in empowering local communities: “These housing units are a testament to our commitment to uplifting farmers and strengthening the agricultural sector. They will not only provide a safe and comfortable space for the farmers but also enable them to lead better lives.” He said.

He noted that the BAM supports the competitiveness of the Ghanaian Banana export sector, while ensuring its environmental and socio-economic sustainability in the long run.”

Vice President of Compagnie Fruitiere in Ghana (Parent company of Golden Exotics Limited) Mr. Olivier Chassang, in his address said “This is a major milestone in the social development of the company and a great example of international cooperation”

 

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Electrochem’s Entry Into The Salt Industry Would Be Very Transformative To The Entire Ecosystem- Trade Minister

The minister for Trade and Industry Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond has said, the Electrochem’s Salt Mining Industry which has been commissioned by the President H:E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo has the potential to transform the entire ecosystem as well as the economy.

The plant, which is already in operation and producing at 99.99 per cent purity, has become the biggest in Africa, larger in acreage than the Walvis Bay of Namibia, which is about 16,700 acres hitherto known to be the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Production is expected to ramp up to around two million tonnes per annum by 2027 and the number of employees is also expected to increase to 7,000 with the completion of the second phase.

To obtain a social licence to operate the salt mine which has been the subject of rancor and litigation for decades, Electrochem has provided communities in the catchment area with facilities and amenities including an Astro turf football field, roads, and advanced GH¢3 million interest-free loans to traders and businesses. Electrochem has also provided scholarships, health clinics, schools, and potable water for the communities.

The Minister, who accompanied the President to the event, noted that the huge regional and global demand of salt for industrial uses as well as human and animal consumption makes it a highly strategic resource which requires significant investments to harness in a commercially viable but environmentally and socially sustainable way.

According to him, the private sector has over the years shown investment interest in salt mining and processing, but these companies are either defunct or currently non-operational due to difficulties encountered at each stage of implementation. He stated that the commissioning also marks a major transition into large scale salt mining and processing to enable Ghana begin to realize its rightful place as a major salt producer.

The Minister was however elated that ElectroChem, after experiencing some challenges and setbacks in operations within the area, has managed to invest $88 million in this state-of the-art salt washing plant and its ancillary infrastructure and facilities. “Progress has been relatively fast considering that the ElectroChem industrial site, which was completed in February this year, took you just two years to construct” he said.

He took the opportunity to appeal to the chiefs and opinion leaders as well as the youth to adopt the project and support it as an important launchpad into the modernization of salt mining and processing in Ghana adding that this will be most beneficial in terms of attracting allied industries which require salt as the basic raw material, to invest, locate and create the much needed jobs in this area.

 Electrochem Ghana Limited, the operators of the salt mine, are a subsidiary of the McDan Group of Companies and a wholly Ghanaian owned company registered in 2017.   It is strategically positioned to leverage over two decades of expertise and resources to invest in and maximize returns from the salt and chemical industries.

The Company has secured a concession of 41,000 acres at Ada Songor to produce 1,000,000 metric tons of salt per annum to supply to local and export markets. In the medium term, the output will be increased substantially and part of it used to feed a chlor-alkali plant to produce caustic soda and other chemical products.

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US-Ghana Business Expo Opens in Accra

Ghana, in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana and the U.S. Commercial Service, has successfully launched its maiden Business expo in Accra. The Expo brought together key industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs, government officials and business leaders from both nations to explore opportunities, exchange ideas and forge strategic partnership.

The two-day program under the theme: Leveraging U.S-Ghana Trade Relations for Growth and Prosperity” is aimed at providing a platform to foster bilateral trade collaborations and economic growth between both nations. The opening ceremony was graced by high level delegations from the U.S led by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, H.E Marisa Lago, the Ambassador H.E Virginia E. Palmer and Ms. Ayesha Bedwei Ibe President of the American Chamber of Commerce.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond is his speech reiterated the Ghana’s efforts in stepping up support for the private sector, both domestic and foreign, to enhance production and export capacity, particularly in the manufacturing sector, with notable opportunities for export into the U.S. market, such as Horticulture, Textiles and Garments products. He said, government, in collaboration with industry experts, has formulated a Garments and Textiles Manufacturing policy and incentive framework to attract and facilitate targeted investment into the industry. This Policy according to him, will be announced before the end of 2023.

He added that the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement leads to removal of tariff restrictions on trade across member countries, addresses some of the non-tariff barriers that have restricted trade between Member States of the African Union, and makes it easy to situate industrial production in different countries within Africa.

“The target market for the AfCFTA is estimated to constitute some 1.3 billion people, projected to rise to 1.7 billion by 2030, out of which about 600 million are the middle class. Aggregate GDP is estimated at 3.4 trillion United States Dollars and growth in intra-African trade is projected to increase by 52.3%” he added.

He therefore urged that concrete business deals including but not limited to some sectors would be initiated during the two-day events which is expected to further strengthen commercial relations between U.S. and Ghanaian businesses.

In her welcome address, Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Virginia E. Palmer, appreciated Ghana’s continuous efforts in promoting bilateral trade with the United States for the past decades. She stated that the trade relationship between both nations keeps improving from time to time. “Last year, our bilateral trade in goods totaled $3.7 billion, and our bilateral trade in services is growing as well.  Our trade relationship and the more than 100 American companies active in the Ghanaian market support jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.  We look forward to the many new business relationships and connections the U.S.-Ghana Business Expo will generate.” She said.

The Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, H.E.Marisa Lago in her statement noted that the government of Ghana has enormously promoted business grown and showcase tremendous support in promoting trade and investment between Ghana and US for several which has led to growth in bilateral relation.

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Let’s Push forward Gov’t Agenda to increase Trade in Africa- PSC Chairman

The Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Professor Victor Kwame Agyemang Esq. has called for collaboration between the Private and the Public Sector to push forward government’s agenda of increasing trade in Africa. This, he said, would help in addressing several challenges that the continent is currently facing in relation to trading activities.

He noted that the role of the Public Sector connot be over emphasized in supporting the government to achieve it desired goals leading to the creation of descent job among the youth within the Sub-Region

The Chairman said this in an address at the 2023, United Nations /African Union Public Service Day under the theme: Building An African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Ready Public Sector. This year’s event was marked in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the National AFCFTA Coordinating Office and other stakeholders in the Public Service.

The Kenyan High Commissioner, H.E. Eliphas Barine who was the Guest of Honour for the occasion took the opportunity to urged government to create the enabling environment for the successful implementation of AFCFTA. He said Africa need a Public Service Sector that has esteemed African Identity with the opportunities and privileges to deliver its mandate within the African Continent. According to him, this would go a long way to eradicate unemployment and poverty in the sub-region.

In a statement, the Technical Advisor from the Office of the Senior Minister, Mr. Robert Poku Kye said a single market with free movement will boost African business in the global market and that government is ready to provide the needed environment to achieve it desired goals in the successful implementation of AFCFTA.

The United Nations/African Union Public Service Day is an annual event celebrated on 23rd June, established through UN Resolution 57/277 and adopted by the African Union Conference of Heads of States. The Public Services Commission (PSC) has actively been involved in coordinating the celebration in collaboration with other Public Sector Organisations. The celebration aims to reflect on the values and virtues of Public Service to Society and acknowledge the contribution of Public Service Institutions to national development.

 

 

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Trade  and Industry Minister Inaugurates GEA MSME Grant Committee

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond has sworn in a seven member Ghana Enterprises  Agency (GEA) Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) Grant Committee in Accra to oversee the approvals or rejections of grant requests from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) applying for various Grant Programmes under the World Bank funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) and implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA). The GETP is part of the government’s initiative to promote private investments and firm growth in non-resource-based sectors. That is, deployment of Technical Assistance and Grants (for the most qualified businesses) outside the extractive oil and gas sectors.

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry) is one of the Technical Implementing Agencies (TIAs) implementing the Sub-component 3.2 of the GETP and is responsible for the implementation of the Project’s flagship programme (the SME High Growth Programme), and other Technical Assistance and Grant Programmes of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.

The Grant Committee will have oversight over four Technical Assistance (TA) and Grant Programmes. The first of the four TA and Grant Programmes is called the SME High Growth Programme. This is the flagship Programme under the GETP targeting High Growth Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to support productivity and competitiveness enhancing initiatives by such firms to accelerate their growth. The second Programme is dubbed Youth in MSME Programme – targeting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) owned by young people between the ages of 18 – 35 years. The third is the Women MSME Programme. This Programme is exclusively for female-owned enterprises ranging from Micro to Medium sized firms. The final TA and Grant Programme is called PWD Enterprise Support Programme and is set up for only Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as startups owned by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) or firms having most of their employees being PWDs.

The mandate of the Committee is to grant final approval for grant recommendations submitted for their reviews and to proffer reasons for rejecting any grant requests. The inauguration and swearing-in of the Committee was necessitated by the dictates of the Project Implementation Manual which requires the set-up of the Committee.

The Minister tasked the Grant Committee to undertake their duties dispassionately, fairly and with an open mind.

The Chairperson of the Committee thereafter expressed the appreciation of the members for the opportunity given them by the Minister and promised to work diligently to achieve the desired Project Development Objective of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.

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Reform the WTO to make developing countries adequately benefit from the multilateral trading system – K.T. Hammond

Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond, is calling for an enhanced capacity for developing countries to enable them participate effectively in WTO negotiations and thereby benefit from the Multilateral Trading System. The Minister also wants the restoration of a fully functional two-tier dispute settlement mechanism i.e. Panels and the Appellate Body to give the multilateral trading system (MTS) the needed predictability and certainty.

Additionally, he is pressing for improving the transparency of governments’ trade measures, especially as it pertains to export prohibitions and restrictions as witnessed during the height of the COVID crisis. As part of the measures to reform the Organisation, the Minister is again advocating positively reviewing the “special and differential” treatment for developing countries and ensuring that existing flexibilities in the Agreement on Agriculture, especially those pertaining to Article 6.2, are fully preserved to help confront the challenges of food insecurity and, reinvigorating the WTO’s negotiating function.
The above raft of measures are the proposals the Minister is making as the Organisation prepares to hold its Thirteenth Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February, 2024.

Hon K.T Hammond made the proposals when he met with the Director-General of the WTO, H.E. Dr. Ngozi Okonja-Iweala, on the occasion of her working visit to Ghana as part of her maiden African tour which includes countries like Cote d’ Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Thanking the Director General for choosing Ghana as her first point of call on her African tour, the Minister noted that the decision reinforces Ghana’s credentials as the centre of African Commercial Diplomacy, in view of Ghana’s hosting of the Secretariat of AfCFTA. He congratulated her for being the first African, and the first woman, to assume the position.

He applauded Dr. Ngozi for the positive signal that her occupation of the role of Director General of the WTO conveys to the many young women and girls of Africa. Recalling the support that Ghana, then as Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, offered for her to assume her current role, he encouraged her to continue being a role model for Africa and was hopeful that her tenure will be successful in view of her quest to reform the WTO.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), he called for support from the WTO for its implementation through the WTO’s “Aid-for-Trade” initiative and the effective implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). He specifically called for additional flows of Aid for Trade from bilateral, regional and multilateral donors to support re-quests for trade-related capacity building from beneficiary countries, He also encouraged the mainstreaming of trade into national development strategies by partner countries; and support for improved ways of monitoring and evaluating the initiative with a view to seeking enhanced implementation.
On her part, the Director General, H.E. Dr. Ngozi Okonja-Iweala, expressed confidence that the issues raised by the Minister will be dealt with earnestly, disclosing that the lack of judges at the WTO is a major bottleneck to dispute settlement.
The Director General also announced that the WTO has waived the patent on COVID-19 vaccines for the next five years to enable African countries to produce their own COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Okonja-Iweala used the opportunity to urge entrepreneurs to take advantage of the prevailing good environment for e-commerce and digital trading, as Ghana is far advanced of its peers on the continent in that space.

She appealed to the Government and particularly the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to take urgent steps to ratify the new regulations on fisheries trade for member countries, noting that doing so will go a long way to benefit the larger population that depend on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in January 1995 as an Intergovernmental Organisation to regulate international trade with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It has a membership of 164 countries.

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