PRESIDENT AKUFO-Addo is upbeat about the gains Ghanaian industries could make when they take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
That, he said was because, it has created access to expanded markets in the region.
This was when he commissioned the Nestlé Infant Cereal Plant expansion at Tema yesterday.
According to the President, the introduction of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the AfCFTA has offered a huge trade market that ought to be explored by industries in Ghana.
“West Africa’s population of some 350 million people and adoption of the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme (ETLS) to create a regional market in ECOWAS have been re-enforced by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area who’s Secretariat is located in Accra, and it represents a market of some 1.3 billion people will combined GDP of 3 trillion United States dollars,” he emphasised.
Apart from that, he said “these regional and continental markets provide considerable opportunities for value added products manufactured by our entrepreneurs in Ghana.”
He, therefore, commended Nestlé Ghana Limited for being one of the pioneering companies operating in Ghana who are taking advantage of the expanded market opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.
“I am delighted that Nestlé has taken an active interest in the operationalisation of the AfCFTA which will be seen as the game changer to help reposition private sector operators in Ghana to take full advantage of the market opportunities under the AfCFTA framework,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer for Nestlé Central and West Africa region, Mauricio Alarcon, noted that Nestlé Ghana Limited has successfully expanded its cereals plant, which will see its local production of cerelac for infants in Ghana, the rest of West Africa and Central Africa by 13,700 tonnes annually.
“Additional income opportunities for local farmers and suppliers in Ghana, in the region of Central and West Africa is guaranteed,” Mauricio Alarcon said.
“As a business that has been operating in Ghana since 1957, Nestlé will continue to diligently contribute to the economy and serve as a model for other businesses to thrive,” he added.
Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen said he “recognises the importance of attracting private sector operators to invest in the productive sectors of the Ghanaian economy and take full advantage of the many attractive incentives offered by the government to enhance the competitiveness of local industries.”
“The new cereals manufacturing plant we are commissioning today, is not only going to provide direct employment for over 800 people, which will improve their livelihoods and that of their dependents, but will go a long way to boost the government’s strategic efforts aimed at import substitution, especially in sectors where there is local capacity for value addition,” Alan Kyerematen said.
According to the President, “one of the main challenges to our (Africa’s) industrialisation drive is the lack of access to expanded markets.”
“The economies of scale, President Akufo-Addo, says, are important for industrialisation and with small fragmented markets in Africa, industrial development has always been a challenge.”
Nestlé Ghana Limited started business in Ghana in 1957 under the name of Nestlé Products (GH) Limited with the importation of Nestlé products such as milk and chocolates.
In 1968, it was incorporated as Food Specialties (GH) Limited to manufacture and market locally well-known Nestlé brands. Nestlé Ghana Limited is located in Tema, Ghana, and is part of the Other Food Manufacturing Industry.
Nestlé Ghana Limited has over 1,000 employees at this location and generates $66.17 million in sales (USD).
There are about 1,988 companies in the Nestlé Ghana Limited corporate family.