Entrepreneurs and businesses have been urged to be innovative if they want to benefit from the large market opportunities within West Africa.
Dr Eunice Ngozi Egbuna, Director-General of West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI), gave this advice in a keynote address at the West Africa Nobles Forum (WANF), held in Accra on Friday on the topic of Intra-ECOWAS Trade.
The forum was on the theme, 'Intra-ECOWAS Trade; The journey so far'.
Dr Egbuna stated that intra-ECOWAS trade held a lot of potential for countries in West Africa but it was greatly undermined.
"The net worth for both imports and exports within ECOWAS is at an estimated $8 billion whereas import and export with other countries outside ECOWAS is at an estimated $203 billion," she added.
The General-Director noted that currently there was a steady growth in trade within ECOWAS and hoped that with the introduction of key policies to boost trade, more opportunities would be open to businesses and entrepreneurs.
She hoped that governments would collaborate to reduce transportation costs within ECOWAS and reduce taxes on goods to enable more businesses take advantage of the 362 million individuals living in West Africa.
Dr Paul Kofi Fynn, President General of WANF and chairman at the event added that government interference was a contributing factor to low ECOWAS trade and unless actions were taken Africa would not grow.
WANI also used the forum as an opportunity to award deserving personalities in the country for their dedication and service to society by upholding good moral values and behaviours that were of nobility status.
A total of 16 personalities were awarded with plaques and were inducted into the WANI fraternity.
Some of the awardees included Dr Eunice Egbuna, Director General of WANI; Madam Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Export Promotion Authority; Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, Deputy Minister of Aviation and Mr Emmanuel Asigri, CEO of National Youth Authority.
Dr Fynn charged them to continue to live noble lives as nobles possessed fine personal qualities that others could follow, adding, "Ensure that whatever you do would always bring a good impact to those around you."