The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen, on Tuesday opened the 7th edition of the African Engineering Week and the 5th African Engineering Conference in Accra, calling on African engineers to position themselves for take advantage of the opportunities that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents.
Mr. Alan Kyerematen described three major strategic areas for engineers to develop their capacities to take advantage of the advantages of the African Single Market.
The fields include engineering services related to the production and installation of production infrastructure, infrastructure related to trade and trade in services.
Hosted by the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), the four-day event also coincides with the 5th Africa 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 to be discussed 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.
The minister said that in order for a country to reap the benefits of the AfCFTA, it was necessary to produce goods that could be traded or sold to other African countries.
He added that without production or added value, there could be no AfCFTA.
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 have essential infrastructure, including good roads, railways, air transport and digital infrastructure, among others.
She added that engineering would play a critical role in the implementation of AfCFTA and that FAEO was uniquely positioned to deliver what is needed to ensure its success. She urged her fellow engineers across the African continent to be recognized and raised 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.
She said it was high time that Africa made full use of the knowledge, skills and products available within it to develop the whole of Africa.
Ms Bou-Chedid added that although the AfCFTA could be a game-changer, there was still work to be done to enable engineers to exploit its prospects, adding that it would be necessary to improve barriers to trade in goods and services. engineering by harmonizing codes and standards.
The President of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Reverend Professor Charles Anum Adams, said that despite some success in eliminating tariffs within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented, an a situation that tended 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.
He said that by putting an unnecessary fist on exporters, these barriers raise prices for consumers, undermine the predictability of the trade regime and reduce investment in the region.
He advocated that the government create opportunities for all to attract young people to see engineering as a vocation and a profession.
Messages of fraternity were delivered by the representative of UNESCO in Ghana and at the head office in Accra, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, and Professor Dr. Gong Ke, President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and the Ministry of Works and Housing.
The program was chaired by the outgoing FAEO President, Eng. Martin Manuhwa.
The conference was opened by the Executive Director of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Ing. David Kwatia Nyante.
During the plenary sessions, presentations were made on various topics by Engineers from different regions of Africa and the world on the chosen theme.
Ing. Alexander Leslie Ayeh, President of the West African Federation of Engineering Organizations (WAFEO) made a presentation on the topic: Aviation, the game changer in the transformation of the African economy, to the admiration of the participants.