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Prof. Boateng Urges Robust Supply Chains for AfCFTA Success

Calls for Strategic Overhaul to Boost Continental Trade Efficiency

by Adenike Adeodun

Professor Douglas Boateng, who is the Board Chairman of the Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF), has highlighted the critical need for African nations to develop a robust supply chain system. This initiative is vital for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to fully realize its potential for economic integration. Speaking at the Women in Supply Chain Forum in Accra, Prof. Boateng pointed out that despite the intentions of the AfCFTA to facilitate the free movement of goods and services across the continent, progress has been hindered by inadequate supply chain management and entrenched barriers.

The AfCFTA, conceived to connect 1.2 billion people across Africa, represents a transformative vision for economic cooperation. However, Professor Boateng pointed out that logistical and regulatory barriers significantly hinder this vision, limiting the flow of goods and stifling economic growth. He criticized the “silo thinking” that prevails within the continent, urging a discontinuation of such practices to allow for a more seamless intercontinental trade.

During his address at the forum, which convened under the theme “Unlocking Growth Through Integrated Supply Chain Management; A Personal Catalyst,” Prof. Boateng called for a continental shift in perspective. He stressed the importance of viewing supply chain enhancements not just as logistical improvements but as strategic initiatives critical to realizing the long-term economic goals of the continent.

The forum also served as a platform for professionals, particularly women, in the supply chain sector to broaden their networks and discuss strategies to leverage supply chain management for business growth and competitiveness. The President of the Women in Supply Chain Management (WISCM), Hannah Boohemaa Otu, emphasized the importance of personal growth in achieving success within the industry. She advocated for continuous skill development, further education, and active networking to enhance decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership capabilities.

Otu’s remarks underscored the dual focus of the forum: celebrating achievements and tackling existing challenges. She highlighted the potential for collaboration, innovation, and shared resolve to open new growth and empowerment avenues within the supply chain community.

The deliberations at the forum revealed a consensus on the need for African countries to adopt more integrated and strategic supply chain management approaches. By doing so, they can not only improve intra-African trade but also position themselves more competitively on the global stage. The discussions also touched on how companies could incorporate supply chain strategies to unlock growth and gain a competitive edge in the evolving business landscape.

Prof. Boateng’s call for bold decisions reflects a broader recognition that for Africa to fulfill the promise of the AfCFTA, significant structural changes are necessary. These changes include enhancing logistical networks, harmonizing customs and trade regulations, and fostering a cooperative economic environment across member states.

As African countries continue to grapple with the implementation challenges of the AfCFTA, the insights from the Women in Supply Chain Forum provide a roadmap for leveraging supply chain management as a catalyst for growth. The discussions underscored the importance of viewing supply chain enhancement as a critical economic strategy rather than merely a series of logistical tasks.

In conclusion, the development of a robust, integrated supply chain system is crucial for Africa to reap the full benefits of the AfCFTA. It requires not only the dismantling of physical and regulatory barriers but also a cultural shift towards more collaborative and strategic economic planning. As African nations work towards these goals, forums like the Women in Supply Chain play a vital role in fostering dialogue, sharing best practices, and empowering professionals to contribute effectively to their industries and economies.

Source: Graphic Online

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