Caribbean, Africa need ‘structured mechanisms’ to boost trade – President Ali

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said the Caribbean region and Africa must develop a structured mechanism for enhanced trade relations.

President Ali made these remarks during an interview with the African Prosperity Network after receiving the African Prosperity Champions Award in Accra, Ghana.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali receiving the prestigious Global Africa Leadership Award in Accra, Ghana

In the live broadcast on Saturday, he emphasised that greater intra-regional trade and integration policies can open doors for significant investments.

With these policies in place, the Caribbean and Africa would be better positioned to utilise each other’s goods and services for shared development.

“I think we need to set ourselves targets, like to increase our internal trade by 30 per cent. That is, reducing our external dependence by 30 per cent by 2030. I think once we set ourselves these targets, we will be able to build mechanisms that promote trade among ourselves,” he said.

President Ali highlighted the crucial need for more transportation link,  before adding that Guyana’s geographical location and budding relationship with Africa can facilitate this expansion.

“We are the gateway to South America, and we are also a part of CARICOM. Guyana allows African investment to have access to a market of over $400 million, and that is a market that we have trade arrangements with, which opens up all of South America to African investors.

With the type of development that is taking place in our country, where we are trying to make Guyana a leader in climate, food, and energy. Africa can play a very key role,” President Ali explained.

He stressed that human resource development must be prioritised.

The Guyanese head of state pointed to the growing emergence of digitisation, noting that countries must invest in their human resources to cope with these changes, and adapt to the new environment.

As we seek to add value to our natural resources, to our manufacturing and agricultural production, we need to have a greater skill set, deploy greater technology, [and] better ways of doing things. We need to spend more on research and development, and all of this requires greater investment in our human assets,” he emphasised.

President Ali also highlighted Ghana’s example within its petroleum industry and how Guyana has adopted this model to craft its Local Content Legislation. 

Earlier this year, President Ali received the Global Africa Leadership Award for his strong and transformational leadership.

The Guyanese leader was lauded for his ‘One Guyana’ philosophy, which promotes inclusive development and unity.

He was also recognised for ‘protecting his country from an outrageous and aggressive attempt of neo-colonisation and unwarranted foreign aggression’.

According to the president, the award signifies the strengthened connection between Africa and the Caribbean.