Nigeria and Ghana trade connection to increase
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in conjunction with with other private sector participants, is helping to strengthen trading ties between the two West African nations of Ghana and Nigeria. “Integration is in fact the main vehicle for boosting trade,” argued LCCI President Remi Bello at a 31 July forum held in Lagos on the topic of increasing trade between the two nations.
With an estimated 340 million people in West Africa, the development of strong trading ties is crucial to the success of the every nation in the bulge. And the responsibility and initiative cannot be left just to governments; “As private sector players, we have a critical role to play to increase the level of trade and investment between the two countries and generally within the sub-region,” Bello said.
Getting on the same page
Yet while positive steps towards integration are being taken, there remain disagreements that need settling. For example, Ghanaian Minister of Trade Haruna Iddrisu says that his country is open to imports from Nigeria but that the latter does not allow Ghanaian textiles and pharmaceuticals to enter its market. “Nigeria must provide the right leadership. There is a common bilateral investment treaty between Nigeria and Ghana. We have signed ours but Nigeria is yet to sign it.”
Nigerian ambassador to Ghana Ademola Oluwaseyi Onafowokan disagrees, saying, “What happens is that some companies outside Ghana will send their products to Ghana, register them there and export them into Nigeria as Ghanaian products. When we find out, of course we will not just keep quiet. We will talk with relevant agencies to find a way out.”
Past Vice President of LCCI Nike Akande also stresses that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) exists as an all-in-one stop where Ghanaians wanting to trade in Nigeria can find assistance.
The usefulness of bilateral organisations
LCCI’s Bello argues that for interregional trade to excel – and so stimulate economies – West Africa needs financial institutions, professional bodies and investment groups that are pro intra-trade. This means the establishment of new associations, as well as the strengthening of those that already exist, such as Chambers of Commerce.