He called on them to brainstorm on issues that will help address the barriers to trade, business and investment, and propose pragmatic ways to address them together with the business community.
Dr Bawumia was speaking at the Ghana-Nigeria Trade and Investment Conference in Accra yesterday.
He called on African countries, especially those in the West African sub-region, to leverage the use of their resources for growth.
According to him, innovative thinking, co-operation and leveraging of resources for growth are some of the most sustainable solutions to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty, create wealth and ultimately contribute to regional peace, security and stability.
Speaking at the first-ever Ghana-Nigeria Trade and Investment Conference, dubbed ‘Ghangeria Rising’, in Accra, the Vice-President called on businesses to challenge each other and increase their competitiveness in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“There is no reason that Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea, for example, cannot co-operate wholly to develop an integrated aluminium industry using energy from Nigeria to dry processing of bauxite from Guinea and Ghana, and to use the alumna to feed the Ghana’s aluminium shell smelter.
“It is so with bauxite as it is with iron ore, energy resources, fertiliser production and agro processing, among others.
“We have the opportunity to change our development paradigm through such engagements by the private sector,” he stressed.
The Ghangeria Rising Conference is an annual high-level event that seeks to bring together key investors, businessmen and women, promoters and facilitators, policymakers and regulators to discuss trade business and investment opportunities between Ghana and Nigeria.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, in her address, indicated that the peaceful political climate and favourable legal framework for investment in Ghana are both God-sent and hard earned and contribute significantly to an enabling business environment critical for private sector competitiveness and sustainable development.
Government, she stated, takes pride in its commitment to creating and ensuring macro-economic stability as demonstrated in the 2017 budget.
Though Ghana and Nigeria have the biggest economies in the sub-region, she bemoaned trade volumes between the two are not impressive as indicated by our 2017 trade figures.
“The challenge, therefore, is for our bilateral trade and investment to be given the needed boost. We all have a role to play as much as would all benefit from any dividends that accrue there from,” she added.
She said Ghana is committed to the implementation of all ECOWAS protocols, particularly those on the free movement of persons, the right of residence and the right of establishment goods and services.
“Trade is a pillar on which regional integration rests. It offers immense potential to promote sustainable development in our two countries and Africa as a whole.
“It also to create the much-needed employment for teeming youth in the continent who are faced with severe unemployment challenges,” she noted.
Ghana, she recalled, in a bid to promote trade at the continental level joined 43 other African states in Kigali in March 2018 to sign the African continental free trade area.
Consequently, she disclosed in her address that Ghana has deposited the instrument of ratification at the African Union commission yesterday, together with Kenya, indicating that “it is our humble contribution to the continental goal of creating the largest free trade area worldwide”.
The Ghangeria Rising is an initiative of Notice Board Limited, an African legal associates, with the aim to present an opportunity for participants to network and engage in continuous discussions for future investment decisions.
This year is the first edition, and, according to organisers, it would continue to be a platform of open and honest conversation about sustainable business by Ghanaian and Nigerian businessmen and women.
It would also be a platform for businesswomen and men to collaborate around lawful business opportunities and their associated challenges to search for pragmatic solutions.
This year’s edition of the Ghangeria Rising Conference was on the theme ‘Harnessing the Business Opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria to Accelerate Inclusive Economic Growth and Development’.