More trade, bilateral relations between Africa, Caribbean needed for sustainable future – Pres. Ali
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday encouraged more trade and bilateral relations between countries in the African continent and the Caribbean region as part of efforts to progressively develop a sustainable future.
The Head-of-State delivered the keynote address at the Presidential Dialogues session, hours after he was bestowed with the Global Africa Leadership Award at the Africa Prosperity Champions Awards and Presidential Gala Dinner on Friday evening in Ghana.
The President also participated in panel discussions at the Africa Prosperity Dialogues Summit of Heads of State and Business Leaders.
In his remarks, the President highlighted Africa’s pivotal role in the Caribbean’s export market and building the economy. However, Dr Ali said more bilateral relations must be considered amongst these leaders because Africa has a stronghold in many sectors that can positively impact the region.
“These are things that we need to fix, the opportunities are there for massive increases in a trade between Africa and the Caribbean…We have to fix the trade barriers, we have to fix the issues of transport and logistics. We have to fix the rules between ourselves that will help stimulate trade and advance trade between our countries,” President Ali said.
He said in order to be sustainable and resilient, governance systems must be democratic and continuously adapt to the changing business and social environments. The President pointed to the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank which supports trade and several bilateral projects between African nations and the Caribbean. He said this is groundbreaking work that promotes breaking “traditional ground.”
“Unless we confront these challenges now, unless you’re able to build the structures and institutions that allow us to confront these challenges now, we’ll continue to play the catch-up game.
“We need to look at the regulations. We need to work together in addressing the impact AI and digitisation would have on our competitiveness in our economies, in its totality,” the President added.
Additionally, there were discussions on slavery and the need for reparations; in this regard, the Guyanese leader reminded that there is a clear need for mechanisms that lead to positive outputs for countries affected by slavery.
He made it clear that although the descendants of European slave traders apologized for their forefathers’ role in the crimes against humanity, there is need for them to now contribute to the enrichment of those affected countries.