Burkina, Ghana Discuss Language… As Instrument For Sub-Regional Integration
Delegates of the Burkina Faso Ministry of Trade and Industry, over the weekend, had interactions with their counterparts in Ghana, over collaboration that would draw strategies to facilitate the study of English and French, as tools in pushing bilateral trade between the two countries.
The arrangements are also part of strategies to push forward sub-regional economic integration efforts, which all ECOWAS countries are enjoined to make in integrating peoples and economies for socio-economic development.
The meeting, which took place at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, was organised under the auspices of the Director of Domestic Trade, Mr. K.N. Atuahene, whose office has been very proactive in facilitating informal sector local and cross border trade in tomatoes, one of the leading commodities in Burkina Faso Ghana bilateral economic activity.
Barriers to trade in the sub-region are cultural and language, in spite of the massive movement of informal sector Ghanaians, Burkinabe, Togolese, Beninois, Nigerians, Malian and Nigerienne nationals criss-crossing barriers plying their various trades in improving livelihoods of families, dependents and communities.
The discussion centered on the formation of business and language clubs intended at giving players basic appreciation and comprehension of French and English as a tool to facilitate trade among economic actors from both countries.
Absence of such facilities and structures, for instance, has culminated in the massive presence of intermediaries in the cross border trade in vegetables, to the annoyance of producers and buyers and the Burkina Faso Government, which invests massively in rural agriculture for the benefit of its citizens, and therefore, expects equal returns.
Reforms the Burkinabe Government is, therefore, putting in place on the advice of the Ghana Embassy in Ouagadougou information desks, where prices of commodities would be available at entry and exit points, and information on where these commodities are available.
Earlier in the week, the Joint Action Committee, which handles trade issues between Burkina Faso and Ghana, met at a preparatory stage to discuss further strategies for improving bilateral trade between the two countries.
The Committee, comprising players from state agencies and dominant informal sector players, including the Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association (GNTTTA), also presented position papers that would form the basis of a plenary conference of the 11 th Session of the Ghana Burkina-Faso Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation, which comes on in Ouagadougou on October 8-10, 2013.
The preparatory meeting was coordinated and moderated by Directors at the Africa and Regional Integration Bureau Directors.
Areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries are agriculture, energy, trade and investment, culture, defence and security as well as mining, transport and haulage. Key commodities in Burkina-Ghana bilateral trade relations are timber, tomatoes, plastic products and salt.
Whilst there are huge numbers of Francophone nationals studying English in Ghana, the situation is different in the case of English-speaking Ghanaians wanting to move out to Francophone countries to receive education, or take up French language proficiency courses.
One official who spoke with The Chronicle said the arrangement will be extended to an oncoming Burkina Faso-Ghana Tomato Project to be inaugurated this last quarter.
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