At a ceremony on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at the Tema Harbour, Mr. Thomas Abanga, Chief Executive Officer of Abanga Farms & Food Systems, praised the cooperation as forward-thinking and expressed hope that both Ghana and Namibia would reap significant, long-term advantages.
He urged the continent’s business sector to take the lead in advancing its development rather than relying entirely on its governments to do so. He claimed that while the government plays a role in Africa’s underdevelopment, the private sector’s unwillingness to take chances is also a contributing factor.
“The private sector has the potential to drive Africa’s economic growth… It’s time for business to take charge.
He came to the conclusion that the alliance will benefit both nations’ agricultural sectors, notably Ghana’s underdeveloped cattle industry.
In her opening remarks, H.E. Madam Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, the High Commissioner of Namibia to Ghana, urged African nations to boost intra-continental trade while the continent is still suffering from the effects of COVID-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. She said that instead of relying on goods and products from outside the continent, Africans would do better to eat what the continent produces.
She expressed the hope that the alliance between Meatco and Abanga Farms & Food Systems would reach out to additional African markets in addition to Ghana and Namibia.
When he gave her the commission to visit Ghana, her President, H.E. Hage Geingob, charged her with carrying out economic diplomacy, a charge that was echoed by his Ghanaian counterpart when she presented her credentials. She said this made her particularly proud of the partnership.
The management of Meatco was thanked by Professor Bani, the chairman of the board of directors of Abanga Farms and Food Systems, “for having trust in us to spearhead this process of inter-African trade.”
Assuring that “Abanga Farms and Food Systems will take advantage of the provisions of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) and its MOUs to expand trade and technology transfer between Namibia and Ghana,” he also expressed gratitude to the “High Commissioner of Namibia and her team for their tireless efforts to get this meat to Ghana.” The biggest opportunity for establishing sustained economic growth and integration is through trade among African nations, so we must seize this opportunity.
Beef and beef products like corned beef are widely produced and exported by Namibia. It satisfies the stringent requirements of Europe and America and has obtained the accreditation needed to operate in those markets’ extremely strict food sectors. Importantly, Namibian beef is halal.
Relations between Ghana and Namibia have existed since the country’s liberation wars against European colonialists and racism under Apartheid. The struggle was crucially maintained with the help of Ghana’s first president, who is still revered by Namibians.
Even though various Ghanaian governments contributed, it was President Rawlings’ administration that took the lead in establishing diplomatic ties with Namibia in March 1999. Despite this strong political commitment, however, trade and people-to-people exchanges have been incredibly scarce. The collaboration between Abanga Farms & Food Systems and Meatco might be the kind of initiative that widens the door for others to enter.
The public, bankers, restaurant owners, and representatives from line ministries attended the ceremony on Wednesday.