Embrace Multilateral Trading System- Dr Wampah

Dr Alberta speaking on behalf of the Governor at the Seminar

Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), has asked countries in the West African sub-region to embrace multilateral trading system in order to enhance their participation in international trade negotiations.

He said despite the ‘costs and difficulties involved, we must participate in international trade negotiations to pursue our commercial interests and protect our existing rights.’

 Dr. Wampah made this known in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Alberta Hagan at the opening of the one-week West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) Regional seminar on West Africa’s International trade, taxes, and policies in Accra.

 The Governor of BoG, who is also the Chairman of WAIFEM said, ‘It is important to note that the prospects of securing protection of rights under the multilateral trading frameworks are better than under a bilateral arrangement.’

He said international trade is crucial to the growth and this was evident after World II.

‘Interestingly, countries have opened their economies to international trade through the multilateral trading system, increased regional cooperation as part of domestic reform programmes,’ Dr. Wampah said, stating that the benefits have been enormous to those countries and their citizens.

He said the issue of trade and its impact on economic development in a globalized world has remained controversial especially within the context of developing countries whose major resources are primary commodities.

Dr Wampah said for the West African sub-region, there have been renewed efforts at scaling-up the contribution of trade to the economies of the sub-region given the importance of trade in political, social and economic integration.

‘For these trade potentials to be achieved, serious attention has to be given to the challenges ranging from complex trade taxes, other barriers to trade, inefficient transport and communication system, hindrances at the borders of countries in the sub-region, currency and legal differences, as well as language problems. These challenges must be fostered,’ he said.

Dr. Wampah commended WAIFEM for granting the request of member countries to hold the seminar on international trade, taxes and policies in Ghana and urged the participants to take advantage of the numerous opportunities.

Professor Akpan Ekpo, Director General, WAIFEM, in his speech, said the seminar on international trade, taxes and policies was necessary to scale up trade in countries in the sub-region.

‘Indeed, it is a fact that countries that succeed in trading goods and attracting Foreign Direct Investment  (FDI) and labour tend to grow faster than those that fail to integrate in the global economy,’ he said.

Prof. Ekpo urged the participants to freely interact with the resources persons to derive maximum benefits during the seminar, urging them to deepen their professional networking relationship to enhance integration in the sub-region.

WAIFEM was established by the Central Banks of the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in 1996 principally to build capacity for improved macro-economic and financial management in the constituent member countries.

The mission of the institute is to sustainably develop  expertise in the fields of macroeconomic, debt and financial sector management among staff of Central Banks, Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning and other public sector bodies with core economic management responsibilities.

By Cephas Larbi
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