Historically, shipping has proven to be the most reliable mode of transporting commercial quantities of goods in the world.
Today, more than 80% of commercial goods are still said to be conveyed via sea ports, demonstrating the continued significance of ports and shipping in international trade.
Sadly, ports in the African continent, despite increased investment and development, are yet to be taken full advantage of, so far as the free trade agreement is concerned.
This is a concern shared by the Secretary General of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), Jean Marie Koffi.
He said, his outfit is keen on preparing ports with the requisite capacity to support the free trade.
He said one of the key initiatives his outfit has embarked on is to guide member ports to harmonize procedures so far as the export and import of originating products are involved.
The Secretary General of PMAWCA was optimistic that intra-Africa trade can help take more than 100 million Africans out of poverty and PMAWCA is happy to associate with this Pan-African drive.
He said his outfit supports the simplification of administrative and customs procedures and the elimination of bureaucratic burdens while ensuring that port infrastructures in the region are fit for purpose serving as trade hubs powered by modern technology.
He was speaking on the niche Eye on Port program on Accra-based Metro TV last Sunday.
Joining him was Trade Practitioner and AfCFTA Expert, Louis Yaw Afful, who acknowledged the significance of ports in the long-term success of AfCFTA.
Louis Yaw Afful who is the Executive Director of AfCFTA Policy Network (APN) Group termed ports as “the bellies of the entire AfCFTA agreement.”
He said member states must recognize ports as a key ingredient of infrastructure required for AfCFTA trading, and must set aside funding to develop ports in tandem with global advancement in technology.
He praised Ghana’s paperless agenda to automate port processes in addition to the billions of dollars of investment sunk into infrastructural developments at the ports, and called for continued commitment in this regard.
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