Former President John Dramani Mahama has emphasized the need for African countries to open up their borders to trade.
This, in his view, will allow the free movement of goods and services which will eventually lead to economic growth.
The former President believes the move will also curtail irregular migration and its associated challenges as is being witnessed in Libya.
“Ghana has great potential. We have about one-third of the world’s mineral resources. We have 400 million hectares of the world’s available arable lands and so can you imagine if 50 percent of this arable lands are under cultivation, we will not only feed Africa, we will probably feed the rest of the world but certainly one thing that is in our hand is the low value of trade among ourselves. The difficulty of opening up our borders to trading among ourselves is just one that cannot be understood..If we must remove some of the challenges Africa faces then let us open our borders and allow our people to move freely, allow goods and services to move freely across the continent”.
“Democracy has seen a return to growth, but I believe the growth is not fast enough to keep ahead of the rate of population, but if we don’t accelerate the pace of economic growth and throw up the essential jobs that will keep the youth engaged then we will have the kind of situation where our young people will be struggling to cross the sahara and being auctioned as slaves like in Libya, where people are trying to cross the Mediterranean, and so in that regard, we need to look at how we manage our economies” he said.
He was speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, at an Expert Seminar to commemorate the adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The Experts’ seminar is being organized by the African Union and the South African Government to commemorate the 10th year of the adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The Former President also lauded the African Union’s contribution in ensuring an incident-free power transfer in Zimbabwe.
According to Mr. Mahama, the AU’s “strong stance against unconstitutional changes of government including the suspension of membership and other sanctions have been effective in turning the tide of coup d’états in Africa.”
As part of the activities, the former president will also join South African President, Jacob Zuma, to open the 6th High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Pretoria.
The dialogue will focus on how to “Enhance Youth Participation and Representation in Governance in Africa.”