OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Alban Kingsford Bagbin, has attributed the high level of poverty in Africa to the low level of trade among countries in the continent.
Speaker Bagbin made this assertion on Wednesday while addressing members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives during a plenary session.
The Ghanaian lawmaker, who is in Nigeria on a parliamentary visit, also expressed readiness in deepening parliamentary diplomacy to advance progress and development for both countries.
“The low levels of trade among African countries as compared to trade with other parts of the world constitute one of the defining characteristics of our continued poverty,” he said, quoting data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) which indicates that in 2019 Africa’s total volume of trade was about US$460billion.
“However only US$69billion of this huge volume of trade was transacted among African nations,” he regretted, adding: “What is even more worrying is that most of these imports traded can be produced and procured in Africa. This unfortunate trend hinders prospects of bringing the needed prosperity to our people.
“It results in the frailty of our security situation given that the rising youth unemployment on our continent which is the world’s youngest continent, occasioned by this unpleasant development, provides handy tools to those so minded to perpetrate all acts of vandalism, hooliganism and violent extremism.”
The Ghanaian speaker expressed excitement at the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) initiative created to pursue the cancelation of the rising debt situation in Africa, occasioned by the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, noting that “with effective parliamentary diplomacy in support of the executive arms of our government, as well as our development partners, this initiative will see resounding success.”
Alluding to the challenges faced by Nigerian traders in Ghana, he assured of a resolution since “our history is replete with instances where Ghana and Nigeria have confronted and overcome our challenges. Working together, this seeming mountain before us shall be a pebble behind us.
“it is important to mention at this stage, that relations between our two countries have not always been smooth. Consistent with the tongue and teeth metaphor which has it that even though the tongue and teeth play complementary roles in the digestive process, they come into conflict occasionally. Similarly, our relations have had its own challenges every now and then.
“Hon Speaker, I am here just to help bring finality to the impasse. I pledge my commitment and that of the Parliament of Ghana, to contribute in every way possible to end the impasse between traders of our two sister countries.”
In his reaction, the Nigerian Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Nigeria will be mindful of the bilateral relations between the two countries.