With a Vision to be a business platform where strategic alliances would be formed and development opportunities created for the West African region, the West Africa Trade and Investment Forum(WATIF 2019) event is scheduled to hold at the prestigious Movenpick Hotel in Accra, Ghana from the 19th to 21st of March, 2019.
Policy makers in the West African region believe that there is a significant case of greater cooperation and integration in West Africa which is expected to contribute to a more rapid growth, poverty reduction and greater political stability for the region.
The 3-day event will consist of keynote addresses, presentations and sector break-out sessions which will focus on pertinent issues as they affect each sector in the West African context.
We would also look at challenges and recommendations for fostering impactful intra-regional business collaborations within each sector. In addition to the foregoing the conference will refer to the outcomes and updates made from the WATIF 2018.
The exhibition will showcase service providers, their products and services in these areas: Energy, Healthcare, Education & Skills Development, Manufacturing, Agriculture and ICT.
- The papers presented will be disseminated among African policymakers in regional member countries, international organizations, donor organizations and stakeholders.
- Update the appropriate agencies on the progress taken during the event and take active steps in ensuring the recommendations are implemented.
- Through information sharing, scale-up the integration and or development of concrete national implementation plans and proffer solutions.
- Sector Working Groups will be constituted with their key objective being to determine and develop sustainable frameworks to drive the implementation of the proffered recommendations/solutions.
We have introduced the Energy Sector to WATIF 2019 in view of the significant role it plays in powering the operations of all sectors of the economy and the contribution of this sector to our regional GDP, as well as the Health Sector, being a key driver of socio-economic development.
Less than 20% of West Africa’s GDP is obtained from Agriculture and 65% of her population is directly involved in Agriculture. The sector, with proper attention and investment can boost the West Africa Economy with over 1 Billion USD annually. Unfortunately, national policies relating to the commercial sector have paid little attention to regional trade. They have focused on major export crops or the satisfaction of domestic food needs.
Despite the need for regional integration, the manufacturing sector in West Africa still suffers setbacks due to some policies that have been put in place. Furthermore, the multiplicity of currencies and cumbersome exchange rate arrangements, non-tariff barriers on exports are some of the enormous challenges posed on manufacturing industries in West Africa.
EDUCATION & SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
The issue of skills and competitiveness is inherent through Africa, and is closely associated with the development causes and consequences of labor mobility for individuals and states. To profit from emerging industries such as banking, extractive industries and information and communications technology (ICT), African countries require high-skilled innovative entrepreneurs for economic transformation. Even with entrenched unemployment and underemployment, African economies face labor skills shortages. Further, the workforce is often inadequately educated, and skills shortages in Africa represent the most important labor market issue for investors.
The uptake of ICT in Africa has been hampered by the absence of appropriate regulatory frameworks and the inadequacy of infrastructure. Records have shown that Africa lags behind in the use of modern Information Technology infrastructure which is becoming an increasingly effective tool in the promotion of intra and inter regional trade. As a result of the observed underdevelopment of Africa’s ICT infrastructure, the cost of conducting trade within the continent remains very high compared to other regions.