Banks, Others Support Re-launch of Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce

From (l-r), President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2019//-Fresh efforts to revive the Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) continue to receive the blessing of strategic stakeholders as well as leaders of various sectors of the economy, including Nigerian banks in Ghana.

At recent separate pre-launch consultations with members of the GNCC’ssteering committee, in Accra, managing directors of UBA Ghana Limited, Ime Isong; GTBank Ghana Limited, Thomas Attah John; Zenith Bank Ghana Limited, Henry Oroh; and FBN Bank Ghana Limited, Gbenga Odeyemi all expressed enthusiastic support on behalf of their respective banks, for the revitalisation of the bilateral chamber.

The banks chiefs who were surprised that Ghana and Nigeria have no subsisting chamber of commerce despite their special and long diplomatic and trade relations, assured that they will leave no stone unturned to ensure the success and sustenance of the current effort.

“It’s a good initiative. Anything that has to with regional integration, with trade integration, with cultural integration, is very important. Because all these for a, there are economic opportunities in them.

We will support you in terms of patronage, in terms of sponsorship. We can do all that,” Zenith Bank Ghana’s managing director Mr Oroh told the team during an audience in his office at the bank’s Ridge-Accra head office.

Speaking in the same vein, FBN Bank Ghana’s managing director Mr Odeyemi assured the team from GNCC steering committee of FBN Ghana’s ‘excitement’ at and “full support” for the initiative.

“I am actually excited about this. This is something that we have been looking forward to. I am even surprised that we don’t have a chamber (Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce) up till now.

When I was in South Africa, I was a member of the board of the South Africa-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce. Please keep us abreast of developments. You have our full support,” Mr Odeyemi assured the GNCC steering committee team members at a meeting with them at his office.

The GNCC steering committee at its meeting in Accra last January had mandated the team of Martin-Luther C. King and Benjamin Haastrup Quornooh to identify and engage relevant and strategic stakeholders towards the re-launch of the chamber.

Mr King is an international journalist, communications specialist and media entrepreneur; while Quornooh is a legal luminary, senior lawyer and partner at Alliance Partners, Accra.

Ghana and Nigeria have many business interests, with Nigerian investments in Ghana leading the foreign direct investment inflows from the West African sub-region.

Business entities from Ghana also see the 200 million population of Nigeria as a good business opening and have on many occasions taken advantage of it by exporting many items, from industrial goods to artefacts, there.

Regardless, business people from both countries eyeing each others’ markets as well as foreign investors looking for opportunities and facilitation into West Africa’s two largest economies still experience frustrations in their legitimate aspiration to fully exploit the full potentials of the biggest economies in West Africa due to the absence of a functional bilateral chamber of commerce that should lead and smoothen interactions between the two countries’ business communities.

With a GDP of $594.257 billion, Nigeria is the biggest economy both in West Africa and across the entire African continent. Although its economic development has not really proved stable, Nigeria continually maintains an increasing level of economic growth. In terms of population and economic growth, Nigeria has remained Africa’s leading country year after year.

In Nigeria, the practice of mixed economy paves the way for economic contributions from both public and private sectors. Besides, Nigeria has a remarkable record in terms of stock exchange and this gives the country the second spot among Africa’s largest stock exchange markets.

For a period of 20 years (from 1990 to 2010), Nigeria established a new base level for its gross domestic product and consequently, the country achieved a massive increase of 89 percent in economic growth.

Currently, Nigeria has the largest African economy and is expected to keep its economic growth at a fast-rising pace in coming years. Based on GDP statistics, Nigeria is currently associated with the total GDP of $594.257 billion resulting from the enormous volume of national production.

Nigeria’s economy is mainly favoured by the country’s vast deposit of natural endowments such as crude oil.

Undoubtedly, Nigeria is one of Africa’s biggest suppliers of crude oil and by reason of this, earnings from petroleum make up the largest portion of Nigeria’s economy.

Although revenues are generated from various other key sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture, the petroleum sector remains the mainstay of Nigeria’s vibrant economic system.

Ghana is also an influential West African country, and an important member of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

For about six years, Ghana kept a moderate GDP growth estimated at 6 percent. In 2012, Ghana advanced beyond the long-standing 6 per cent by extending its growth rate to 9.7 percent.

In 2019, the country’s growth rate is projected to grow by 7.6 percent. As it stands, Ghana’s overall GDP is estimated at $50 billion,   making it the second and 11th largest economy in West Africa and Africa, respectively.

Ghana and Nigeria have enjoyed cordial and friendly relations as they are foremost business partners in the West Africa region. Indeed, both countries have been trading in various goods and services even before both became independent countries. They are also the two biggest oil producers in the region, although with differences in output.

Their combined population and GDP account for about 61 percent and 68 percent in ECOWAS respectively. They share common values; common vision for the sub-continent and Ghana always supported Nigeria on all major issues within and outside Africa just as Nigeria also stands by Ghana anytime she had to.

This relationship has made Nigeria to become one of Ghana’s most cherished trading partners, with bilateral non-oil trade between the two countries increasing from less than US$15million before 2000 to more than US$130 million in 2010.

Beyond trade, substantial migration flows between both countries have existed for a long time. However, there have also been some moments and periods of serious hiccups and diplomatic uproar between the two countries.

A major economic disagreement occurred between both countries in 2012 when they tried to implement a law considered detrimental to Nigerians doing business in Ghana, raising concerns over ECOWAS treaties and protocols, which both countries are signatories to.

Accra likewise has also complained about certain products being restricted from being imported into Nigeria.

As the two largest economies in West Africa, analysts believe the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana is crucial for region’s progress and prosperity.

GNCC was registered with the Registrar-General’s Department in 2009, but had been in limbo due to some systemic constraints, including relocation from Ghana as well as the demise of some of its earlier directors.

Fortunately, those issues have now been resolved, steering committee member Martin-Luther C. King said, adding that the exigencies of current global economic realities also compels the need for the chamber now.

“Changes in today’s global landscape mean emerging markets must consider how they shape their own futures. Many countries in the developed world have focused their efforts and resources inwards as a result of challenging economic times.

Ghana, Nigeria and other countries in West Africa urgently need to do same, too. And as West Africans, and ECOWAS citizens the greatest opportunity for realizing our common growth potentials are  to continuously increase our capacity to trade and do business with each other and among ourselves.

This, the GNCC will work to actualize, stringently guided in its operations by international best practices,” King assured.

By Dave Fokuoh 


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