Senior Partner at AB and David Africa, David Ofosu-Dorte, is predicting that the continued COVID-19 induced closure of land borders in African countries, if not immediately reviewed, will heavily hamper trade activities on the continent.
He asserts that African leaders should, as a matter of urgency, agree to reopen all land borders to prevent the business and trading community from losing out to competitive free trade across the globe.
The free movement of persons and goods has been interrupted for well over two years following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and other country-specific trade restrictions.
In West Africa in particular, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have met a couple of times to discuss cross-border trade and transportation facilitation amidst the global health threat.
But speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View on Wednesday, Mr. Ofosu-Dorte urged authorities to be mindful of the economic implication of the decision while urging industrial players to push for the reopening of land borders.
“There is one thing we need to talk about– the impact of the pandemic. A lot of countries have their borders closed. There is no free trade and free movement because borders are closed. I am one of the advocates that the borders must be opened. After all, we have opened the airports. I am not talking about only Ghana but across Africa. These are things we must look at, and I think that it will pick up when businesses drive it. It is an ECOWAS issue across the rest of Africa.”
David Ofosu-Dorte also cautioned that the reopening of the land borders is recommended in order not to throw the expected benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) off gear.
“It is something we need to look at and its impact on AfCFTA. One of the sad things that will happen is that we are likely to have data that will indicate that as a result of the pandemic, we have dropped from the 18percent in inter Africa trade we reached in 2018. So unless we open the borders for these things to be revamped and begin to take more accounts of the informal trade across the borders, we are going to have challenges”, he advised.