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Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) of the European Union have been described as avenues of guaranteeing European trade, cloaked under the veneer of free trade, but the benefits of which are hyped up to the disadvantage of African people.
Mr Tope Fasua, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Global Analytics Consulting Limited, who made the statement, noted that economic unions in Africa appeared to be the worst performing as they had to contend with the looming image of a meddling United States of America (USA).
Mr Fasua said with intra-African trade put at less than 15 per cent, while 85 per cent of African trade heads to other continents, Africa was throwing money at foreigners while West Africa was unable to make much of its Unit of Account, meant to be a precursor to a regional currency.
He was delivering the key note address at the International Conference on Development and Awards of Excellence of the third African Development Magazine in Accra on Friday.
He spoke on the topic “A Practical Guide to Economic Integration of West Africa: A Case Study of Ghana and Nigeria.”
Mr Fasua identified tourism as key to economic development in Africa, adding that for Africa to hope to gain anything from tourism, it had to invest heavily into infrastructure and, more necessarily, maintain the infrastructure.
He said Africa had no choice but to use regional integration to shape its evolution, adding that having identified the need to co-operate, culturally and economically, the next thing to do was to take pragmatic action.
He, therefore, stressed the need to redefine several concepts, including tourism and globalization, among others and to begin the process of re-dedicating African children and re-opening their eyes to trends which would manifest in the near future.
In a welcome address, Mr Ayo llesanmi, Publisher/CEO of Playhorse Communications Limited, said the essence of African Development Magazine (ADM) was to fill the noticeable knowledge gap on the discourse bothering on the development of the African continent.
Mr llesanmi said ADM aimed to provide measured and evidence-based information on African socio-economic challenges that thrived on factual, practical and sustained engagement.
He said by proffering solutions through an integrated approach that helped countries to peer-examine and have a clear understanding of options open for African development, the mind was set to be the change agent that would promote Africa.
The essence of ADM is, therefore, to drive a knowledge-driven economy that will herald the continent into a new Africa where prosperity is guaranteed.
The development confab is based on two thematic areas, namely the Development and Promotion of Knowledge which highlight the need for a paradigm shift in imported economic development management models to home grown solutions based on knowledge and innovation-driven economic management for African economies.
This year’s ADM Awards of Excellence paraded the best of West African elites and achievers, top on the bill of which was Governor Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was recognized as the Governor of the Year, based on his unparallel developmental activities in Kano State in Nigeria.
In all, 24 personalities, including Ghana’s Minister for Energy, Hon. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, received awards.
The first edition of ADM’s Annual Awards of Excellence which is its flagship event was held in 2012 in Nigeria and the second edition in Accra in July 2013.
Nairobi, Kenya, will host the 4th edition next year.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)