Mr. Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, speaking at the 7th Africa Engineering Week and the 5th Africa Engineering Conference. Image: Maxwell Ocloo
Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen urged engineers across the continent to strategically position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He therefore outlined three major strategic areas for engineers to develop their capacities in order to reap the benefits of the single African market.
The strategic areas are engineering services related to the production and installation of production infrastructure, infrastructure related to trade and trade in services.
The Minister of Trade and Industry presented the strategic areas during the 7th edition of the African Engineering Week in Accra yesterday.
Organized by the Ghana Institution of Engineering, the four-day event also coincides with the 5th African Engineering Conference.
It is in collaboration with the Federation of African Engineering Organizations, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It is on the theme: “Engineering, inter-African trade and the objectives of sustainable development”.
Key issues for discussion include goods and services, capacity building for trade, trade integration and interconnectivity, women and young engineers in trade, alternative dispute resolution and infrastructure rights. and intellectual property.
Mr Kyerematen said that for any country to reap the benefits of AfCFTA, it had to produce goods that could be traded or sold to other African countries, adding that “without production and value added there can be no have ZLECAf ”.
“I believe this requires the mobilization and deployment of engineering capacities and capabilities to support production in various strategic sectors in which African countries have a comparative advantage,” Kyerematen said.
The president of the Federation of African Engineering Organizations (FAEO), Ms. Carlien Bou-Chedid, said in her speech that in order to facilitate cross-border trade, it was necessary for engineers to be provided with essential infrastructure, especially roads. , rail, air transport and digital infrastructure, among others.
She said many products have benefited from engineering inputs, adding that the essential role of engineering must be recognized and elevated to skill levels to deliver world-class products.
She noted that for too long the continent had depended on products and services from other continents despite the skills available in Africa, adding: “It is high time that Africa takes full advantage of the knowledge, skills and products available. within it to develop the whole of Africa ”.
Ms Bou-Chedid added that while AfCFTA is a potential game changer, there is still work to be done to enable engineers to exploit its perspectives.
“It will be necessary to improve barriers to trade in engineering goods and services by harmonizing codes and standards,” she added.
Again, she noted that the FAEO seeks to develop a sufficient, diverse, inclusive and skilled workforce of relevant engineering industries for Africa to engage in safe, ethical and sustainable practice.
“At FAEO, we are convinced that Africa cannot develop without engineering and we have positioned ourselves to be the organization that drives the sustainable socio-economic development of Africa through engineering.
“To this end, we will work to promote and advance the science and practice of engineering for the benefit of society,” she added.
For his part, the President of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), the Rev. Teacher. to undermine free trade within the continent.
He added that non-tariff and regulatory barriers increase transaction costs and limit the flow of goods and services on the continent.
“By imposing unnecessary tariffs on exporters, these barriers increase prices for consumers, undermine the predictability of the trade regime and reduce investment in the region,” he said.
He urged the government to create opportunities for all to attract young people to see engineering as a vocation and a profession.