— Credits Africa for fearless leadership and enormous natural wealth
Accra, Ghana (January 27, 2024) His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali emphasised the opportunities that exist for “massive increases in trade” between the continent of Africa and the Caribbean.
The Guyanese Head of State, who is on an Official Visit to the West African country of Ghana, said that in order to achieve these increases, systems must be put in place “to fix the trade barriers” and issues with transport and logistics.
During the panel discussion as part of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues 2024 Summit of Heads of State and Business Leaders on Saturday, President Ali, who is the current chair of CARICOM, was adamant that both Africa and the Caribbean can benefit from the opportunities that exist.
“There are tremendous opportunities as we seek to have the issue of food security resolved within the region. When you look at our region’s population, you may say that our population is very small, but what we give to Africa, to investors, is access to a market of over 400m people in which we have trade arrangements and trade agreements.”
Pointing specifically to aquaculture as an example, the President said that the size of the aquaculture market in the United States is US$4b annually, and Guyana is among the most competitive countries when it comes to aquaculture and the production of fish products for the US market.
“You have the know-how, you have the technology, we have the land, and we have the competitive advantage. What if we merge? And for us to do this, we have to think outside of the box. We have to embrace the new opportunities. We have to look beyond the traditional areas. And, the Caribbean and Guyana present this very important opportunity for you.”
During his presentation, the President also underscored that the Caribbean and Africa need to work together on other important issues, such as climate change and energy security.
He lauded Africa’s “fearless leadership”, pointing to South Africa as an example.
“One of the things I want to recognise is that Africa has been a place of fearless leadership, and recently, South Africa reminded us that Africa remains a place where fearless leaders exist, always standing up on the right side of things and on the right side of humanity.”
President Ali also spoke about the natural wealth that exists in the continent, including 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves and eight per cent of the world’s natural gas; these, he said, are complemented by adequate human resources and technological capacity. He told the forum to examine three important things: how Africa is positioned in the global system, how the continent and countries can build a winning culture and adapt to a changing business environment and how to empower institutional systems.
The Head of State also called for a “commitment to action, a commitment to meeting targets and a commitment to staying on track with the targets set”.
The 2024 Summit is being held under the theme, ‘Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade’.
GLOBAL AFRICA LEADERSHIP AWARD
Meanwhile, on Friday evening, President Ali received the prestigious Global Africa Leadership Award in Accra for his transformational leadership. At the ceremony, he was lauded for his “unwavering dedication to promoting inclusive development” through his ‘One Guyana’ political philosophy and for his protection against neo-colonialism and “unwarranted foreign aggression”.