The 6th edition of the annual meeting of the Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) was held in Accra, Ghana on Thursday, November 25, 2021, after successful previous editions in Morocco, Ethiopia, and Ivory Coast.
The meeting dubbed "Connecting African Special Economic Zones to Global Value Chains in the African Free Trade Area Era" was attended by members from over 40 African countries.
Speaking at the event, Amb. Michael Oquaye stated that the Ghana Free Zones Authority remains the anchor for Ghana's Industrial Park and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) plan.
He further posited that, for the first half of the year 2021, the Free Zones enterprises generated total export revenue of US$1,096.77 billion with a capital investment amounting to US$174 million.
He added that job creation would continue to be a critical factor for the Authority and its partners and was therefore happy to report that more than thirty thousand jobs have been created so far.
On the development of a policy framework to govern Ghana's Special Economic Zones, he indicated that the Ministry of Trade and Industry continues to work with key partners and stakeholders to see to its completion by the end of 2022.
He also emphasized that “if we are united, we are stronger so if we are able to put our inter-trade together we can achieve more in Africa”.
"We are looking at the various agencies under the ministry of trade and come together to be able to take advantage of a more connected Africa. Because we need to rely on ourselves more to help with the supply chain especially in the covid-19 era and that is the more reason why we are having this conference.
"We are here to talk about how we will get the lands ready, anybody who wants to produce need lands, raw materials, our challenge is how to get industrial lands in an economic zone, demarcation, roads, electricity, water, and how to make the place business-friendly and ready in a competitive manner to be able to work under Africa Continental Free Trade Area and to also learn from each other in terms of best practice and to compare this new trade dimension in a competitive business era," he further stressed.
The colorful event saw the attendance of Mr. Fouad Brini, Honorary President of AEZO, H.E Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, H.E. Mrs. Carmen Ndaot, Minister of Investment Promotion, Gabon, Mr. Ahmed Bennis, Secretary-General of AEZO and other high-profile individuals