Executive Chairman of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) and Senior Partner of the Africa Legal Associates (ALA), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has stated that the economic integration of Africa is the surest pathway to guarantee the continent’s peace, security and prosperity for all her peoples.
Delivering his welcome address at the maiden edition of the Global Africa Forum (GAF) jointly organised by the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) and the Africa-America Institute (AAI) on Thursday September 21st, 2023, on the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York City, under theme: “Mobilising Global Africa Investment to Boost Intra-African Trade,” Mr Otchere-Darko said political and business leaders must prioritize the integration agenda of the continent.
The best way to achieve this integration in Mr Otchere-Darko’s view, is to have a mindset of Africa without borders. The concept of global Africa he said, will be much more meaningful and find expression if the continent gets rid of the borders that are dividing her currently.
He told the gathering that investors who are not Africans in any shape or form, have invested in Africa and their investments have become profitable. The “global African,” Mr Otchere-Darko said, must see the need to also invest in the continent with profitability as a target.
“Back in January 2021, we (Africa) gave birth to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which potentially means that we are creating a single largest economy in the world by virtual of the AfCFTA. If that is going to happen, then every man and woman of African descent, should see the role that they can play in that” Gabby Otchere-Darko said.
The Chinese, he said, have also caught the vision and are investing heavily in Ghana and other parts of the African continent because they fore-see that sooner rather than later, Africans will stop traveling to China to purchase their products and so they see the need to build their factories right on the continent.
America to Mr Otchere-Darko, is doing very little in this regard in Africa, however, he noted that it is time for the Africa American, the global African, to wake up to the reality and believe in the continent as a viable place to invest their capital.
APD 2024 launched
As part of the ceremony, the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) launched the second edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) which will take place in Ghana from Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 January 2024, under the theme: “Delivering Prosperity in Africa by Producing what we Trade”.
Executive Chairman of APN, Gabby Otchere-Darko, in launching the APD noted that since the 21 September is the birthday of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, it was appropriate for him to the task with a quote from the former President some 60 years ago when the OAU (Organization of African Unity) was created.
“The resources are there; it is for us to marshal them in the active service of our people. Unless we do this by our concerted effort, within the frame work of our combined planning, we shall not progress at the tempo demanded by today’s events and the mode of our people.
“The symptoms of our troubles will grow and the troubles themselves, become chronic. It will then be too late for pan African unity to secure for us stability and tranquility in with our neighbours for a continent of social justice and material well-being” Mr Otchere-Darko said in quoting the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
On his part, Kofi Appenteng, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the African American Institute (AAI), observed that there are three things that governments on the African continent need to take action on in order to create an enabling environment to attract funds from existing diaspora networks.
The first he said is ease of travel and the challenges that exist with getting visas to be able to travel to the African continent on short notice. According to the AAI president, “if you (Africa) want to create an enabling environment for investments, people need to be able to travel easily”.
“This is something that is within the power of African countries to do something about and it is in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area. We are not going to have the opportunity to create this market if travel continue to be difficult” Kofi Appenteng said.
“The other is, for those who do not have citizenship of any African country, there needs to be the ability for a pathway for residency and also citizenship, because if you are really going to make long term investments, you are going to really need to know that if you go and sit, watch your money and make partnership, etc., that you can do so [safely and freely].
“This is something that again is in the control of African governments”. The last concern has to do with the real estate sector and the ability to buy real estate or houses” Mr Appenteng added.
Apart from, President Akufo-Addo, other dignitaries who attended the forum included Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the board of directors, Afreximbank and H.E. Albert Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Trade and Industry.
Other attendees were Dr. Amany Asfour, President of the Africa Business Council, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General UNDP-RBA, Derrick Johnson– President, NCAAP, Mr. Julius Mwale, President, and CEO of SBA Technologies Inc, and several other leading Global Africa business leaders.