A three-day Ghana-Nigeria business summit opened in Accra on Monday with a call for more robust intra-regional trade to help them effectively deal with the challenges of the global economic asymmetry.
Ghana’s President John Agyekum Kufuor said this was also a necessary “building-block” into the global market.
The theme of the summit is Promoting Trade and Investment and it would lead to the establishment of a Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
It is being attended by a number of business leaders from the public and private sectors, the Ghana News Agency reported in Accra.
Ghana and Nigeria between them account for about 70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the West African sub-region, and President Kufuor said it was a paradox they did not have formal trade agreement.
He said this had left business to be transacted largely through informal and un-coordinated initiatives.
Bi-lateral trade between the two, which was valued at US$64 million in 2000, rose to about US$2.6 billion in 2007.
President Kufuor, who supported the establishment of the joint Chamber, said it would in no doubt enable them to fully utilize each other’s competitive advantage in its area of specialization.
He urged business people in the two countries to pay due attention to cross-border security by adhering to the ECOWAS ban on trade in small arms and illicit drugs, saying they could not afford to destabilize the sub-region for mere wealth.
Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, said the summit would address problems including delays at the ports of entry, unapproved checkpoints and inferior goods.
Dr Bamangar Tukur, President of African Business Roundtable, said that the joint chamber of commerce was the kind of co-operation among countries the sub-region required to speed up regional economic integration.
He said it would provide the platform for a conducive business environment and promote best practices.