President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaian manufacturing industries to take advantage of the access to expanded markets created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
President Akufo-Addo said one of the main challenges that have affected Africa's industrialisation drive is the lack of access to expanded markets.
He said economies of scale were an important tool for industrialisation but with small fragmented markets in Africa, industrial development had always been a problem.
President Akufo-Addo said this on Wednesday in Tema when he commissioned Nestlé Ghana's Ghc175.4 million-expansion plant for the production of Cerelac, an infant food, for export to countries in West and Central Africa.
The plant has a production capacity of 6,700 tons per year to meet increased demands.
President Akufo-Addo commended Nestlé Ghana Limited for taking advantage of the expanded market opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.
"I am delighted that Nestlé has taken an active interest in the operationalisation of the AfCFTA which will be seen as the game-changer to help reposition private sector operators in Ghana to take full advantage of the market opportunities under the AfCFTA framework."
The Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, said the Ministry recognized the importance of attracting private sector operators to invest in the productive sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
The Minister urged other multi-national companies to invest in the country and take advantage of the many attractive incentives offered by the government to enhance the competitiveness of local industries.
He said Nestlé Ghana's cereal expansion plant would not only provide direct employment for over 800 people but also boost the government's strategic efforts aimed at import substitution, especially in sectors where there is a local capacity for value addition.
Chief Executive Officer for Nestlé Central and West Africa region, Mauricio Alarcon said Nestlé Ghana Limited's expanded plant would increase its local production of cerelac to other West Africa and Central Africa countries by 13,700 tonnes annually.
"Additional income opportunities for local farmers and suppliers in Ghana, as well as other countries in Central and West Africa are guaranteed," Mauricio Alarcon said.
As a business that has been operating in Ghana since 1957, Mauricio Alarcon said Nestlé would continue to diligently contribute to the economy and serve as a model for other businesses to thrive.