West African countries have been challenged to use the forthcoming 7th ECOWAS
Trade Fair in Accra, as a mechanism to boost intra-Community trade and
eliminate reliance on the import of products that could otherwise be produced
within the Community.
"We should be able to produce and distribute staple foods, particularly grains
like rice, maize, groundnuts; tubers like yam and cassava; fruits and
vegetables among ourselves," Ghana's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry,
Dr. Joseph Annan, said on Wednesday, 26th September 2012, while launching the
publicity campaign for the regional fair scheduled for 24th October to 4th
November 2013 in the Ghanaian capital.
Ghana is hosting the fair for the second time at its sprawling permanent Trade
Fair Complex in Accra, which has 26 pavilions for the exhibition of products.
The country hosted the second edition in 1999 after Senegal played host to the
inaugural fair four years earlier.
The minister described the regional fair "as one of the effective tools for
promoting intra-Community trade," adding that the Government of Ghana has put
in place relevant structures including the composition of appropriate
committees to ensure a successful hosting.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to discharge its
responsibility, particularly in improving facilities at the trade fair centre
Earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs, Free Movement and
Tourism, Mr. Ahmed Hamid, noted that the movement of goods and services in the
region still faced some challenges despite efforts by the Commission to create
the necessary legal and institutional framework.
The Commission, he said, will continue to work assiduously to address these
challenges because of the important role of intra-Community trade to regional
economic development and the need to migrate the region to electronic commerce
system in line with best practices in the sector.
Describing the fair as one of the tools put in place by the region to address
poverty, the Commissioner called for concerted efforts to improve the level of
intra-Community trade and the effective exploitation of the region's
potentials for the benefit of the citizens and regional economic development.
The ceremony, which marked the commencement of the publicity and promotional
campaign on the event, was held on the margin of the meeting of the Regional
Organising Committee for the fair.