‘Trade, Transport Interconnectivity critical to sustained growth in Africa’

Member States of Union of Africa Shippers Council (UASC) on Thursday in Abuja commenced a two-day special Sub-Regional Interactive meeting aimed at improving trade and transport infrastructure within the continent.
  With the theme:Transport Infrastructure Development and Maintenance: Funding Options and Trade Policies, the meeting also seek to push for development and maintenance that would go a long way in promoting efficiency, competitiveness and cost reduction in the delivery of goods and services in the West and Central African Sub-Region
   Participants who spoke at Thursday’s meeting emphasized need for the continent to put in place the right transport and trade policies   
  In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, told participants that the critical role of trade and transportation can not be overemphasized.
 Bello explained that transport drives integration, adding that trade connectivity is key to Africa’s development.
   Addressing the gathering, Senior Director and Head of  Natural Resources and Transportation at Africa Fiance Corporation (AFC), Mr Ato Gyasi advised member counries to take advantage of the Corporation’s financial support to develop infrastructure within the continent.
  Director, Mass Transit and Road Transport, Federal Ministry of Transport, Dr Anthonia Ekpa, informed the gathering various steps the Nigerian Government is taking to overhaul its transport infrastructure especially in the Port sector.
  Other speakers at Thursday’s meeting include Chief Executive Ghana Shippers’ Authority,  Dr Kofi Mbiah, representative of Director, Trade Department, Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), representative of the Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Export Group, Chief Ede Dafinone, Dr Kingsly Usoh, among others
 Other objective of the meeting include::
* Examine better access to transportation infrastructure and networks to improve connectivity, promote integration of markets and enhance regional trade for sustainable economic growth of the West and Central African Sub-region.
* Sensitize authorities and policy makers on other options for financing public and private projects, indentify challenges to Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and remove unnecessary bureaucratic practices and procedures.
* Understand and harness trade policies for a stable environment that would effectively encourage production and distribution of goods and services to satisfy domestic and interactional markets.