Former Ghanaian leader John Dramani Mahama has stressed the need for African countries to diversify their economies and enhance their trade relations with each other.
He made these remarks at the Korea-Africa Business Summit 2023, which coincided with the African Union Day celebration on May 25, 2023.
He said “Africa faces a unique challenge and opportunity at the same time, depending on how we manage it— Africa is the youngest continent and has the largest population of young people. Africa’s youthful population is educated and eager to acquire new skills to enter the world of work.
“Every year, 12 million young Africans join the labour market. Sadly, only between 3 and 4 million jobs are created annually in Africa. Africa needs to double its job creation capacity to keep up with the growing youth bulge, or it will turn into a ticking time bomb.
“To achieve this, we must accelerate the growth of African economies. We must move away from just exporting primary products. We must aim for value addition for our exports. We must support African entrepreneurship and enterprise, but most importantly, we expand trade among ourselves.
“How can we forge a partnership with Korea that allows our young people to benefit from a transfer of knowledge and technology that harnesses their vast talents and creativity for growth? I would like this summit to consider the above when submitting a report on the outcomes of our deliberations.”
He added “Ghana has had a history of Korean investments in Ghana. Early investors like the well known Bok Nam-Kim made significant investments in fisheries and agribusiness. Other investors who have come in have concentrated on the import of used autos and auto spare parts.
“With the recent opening of a KIA vehicle assembly plant, I can see new beginnings. Younger Koreans like my friend Kojo Choi have invested in the Fintech space. His PaySwitch payment and settlements platform is bringing in some of the latest Korean fintech experience, providing banking and credit solutions for Ghana.”