Date: April 1, 2009, 4:26 pm


The coordinator of the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, Ibrahim Akalbila, has called on the government of Ghana to concentrate on the implementation of regional trade and agriculture policies as contained in the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the ECOWAS common Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP). This, the coalition believes, would contribute to support the equitable economic and commercial integration of agricultural enterprises into national, regional, and international markets so as to improve rural incomes, especially of women. Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr. Akalbil noted that unsustainable economic policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programmes and the more eminent threat of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) being negotiated between the European Union and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries have frustrated and would continue to frustrate these efforts, unless Ghanaians commit to enabling the policies and cultures that would unite and strengthen them towards a common destiny.

 For instance, he continued, the EPAs in full operation would not only limit government’s power to determine the direction of development but also greatly undermine efforts of regional integration as well as south-south cooperation.

The National Treaty and Most Favoured Nation clauses that are respectively imbedded and being lobbied to be included in the full EPA are some of the unabashed signals. He urged governments of West Africa to collaborate on the removal of unnecessary and economically damaging road barriers within and between both countries and to establish a joint committee at the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, and Trade and Industry and Food and Agriculture of both countries to increase productivity of tomato farmers and to create joint enterprises in tomato processing as a starting point. He also proposed that before the implementation of any external agreement, countries must be committed to deepening the integration processes.

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