Former President John Dramani Mahama has described Africa’s over-dependence on imported goods as shameful.
According to him, intra-African trade must be encouraged on the continent to boost trade and promote self-reliance.
Speaking at the 24th African Business Conference organized by the Harvard Business School, Mr. Mahama said “We must push for self-reliance for key strategic commodities and supplies such as rice, tomatoes, onions, and vegetable oil for which we have comparative advantage. It is such a shame that Africa continues to import these commodities when we have favourable conditions to produce them.”
”Africa must take greater control of the trade and processing of its natural resources like cocoa, and the minerals and build stronger capacity to respond to global energy shocks stemming out of situations such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.”
Mr. Mahama also advocated for the reintroduction of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to help Africa deal with its rising public debts.
“Many African countries, including Ghana have reached debt distressed levels with debt to GDP ratio ranging between 70% and 80%.”
”I am advocating for a reconstitution of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to offer our countries some fiscal space to make investments in critical states such as education and health.”
Most African countries have been hard hit by the Russia-Ukraine war as it has reduced Russian and Ukrainian exports of crucial commodities such as wheat, sunflower oil, and corn. It has also affected cost of fuel, prices of fertilizer, and other key agricultural inputs.
Most of these countries, including Ghana lament that the war is directly affecting their agricultural value chain.