West Africa: Govt Urged to Facilitate ECOWAS Trade

Anthony Pile, founder and chairman of Blue Skies Holdings, a fruit processing company, has urged the government to help facilitate trade within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) market.

He said Blue Skies Holdings and other companies in Ghana needed government's support to be able to penetrate the ECOWAS market.

Mr Pile said the ease of doing business in the market left much to be desired, as the company was faced with challenges, including bureaucracies at about 21 road barriers in the region.

Mr Pile made the call when the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanten, paid a working visit to the company's factory at Nsawam in the Eastern Region, on Friday.

Mr Pile urged the government to help tackle the Bacteria Black Spot infection that was threatening mango farms, and having a toll on farmers and the markets.

On the global front, he asked the government to leverage on the European Partnership Agreement, to protect Ghanaian trade in the European Union market as the ongoing Brexit could affect trade activities in the market.

Noting the vast opportunities in the country for industrial activities and abilities of the youth, Mr Pile asked the government and stakeholders to link the youth with right materials and the necessary support, to enable them excel in their businesses.

"The Blue Skies factory is proof of the innovative skills of Ghanaians," he said, adding that the factory, had, through innovation, become the first in the world to produce non-dairy ice-cream made from fruit.

Mr Pile said the company, since its establishment in the country 21 years ago, was playing its role in the socio-economic development of the country by employing 3,500 Ghanaians at its 25-acre Nsawam factory.

He appealed to the government to support the factory, which exports 35 tonnes of finished product per day, advanced in its business, to create more employment opportunities.

Mr Kyeremanten, described the company as the great example of the one-district one-factory initiative by the government, saying, "This is a major source of employment. This is the kind of things we want."

He said the factory had showed the way on how the industrial sector can exploit the global value chain, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) would offer more opportunities for businesses to excel.

On challenges with trade barriers within the ECOWAS market, he said Ghana was collaborating with the various countries in the West African sub region, to ensure free flow of goods while the AfCTA agreement, had operational instruments that would facilitate the resolution of such challenges.

The Nsawam-based multinational company established in 1998, produces fresh-cut fruits and freshly squeezed juices, most of which are exported.

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