Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has urged Ghanaian and Indian pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to expand their market in Africa and make them more profitable.
The AfCFTA, whose Secretariat is hosted in Accra, provides duty-free and quota-free trade access for businesses and companies.
Therefore Ghanaian and Indian pharmaceutical companies should enlarge their scope of trading through the AfCFTA to make them more profitable and create employment for the youth.
Mr Baafi pledged the government's commitment to providing technical support to pharmaceutical companies in Ghana to meet the World Health Organisation's (WHO) procurement standards so they could bid for future international procurement opportunities offered by the Organisation.
Mr Baafi made the call when he officially opened a three-day West Africa Pharma and Healthcare Exhibition in Accra.
The exhibition, currently ongoing at the Accra International Conference Centre, is showcasing a variety of products and services of the pharmaceutical and medical industry across the world.
More than 100 pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare companies and service providers are taking part in the exhibition.
It aimed to create business promotion avenues through a holistic approach for pharmaceutical industry players to transact business, network and explore innovative ways to improve the sector.
The seminars and conferences taking place along the exhibition provide the platform for pharmaceutical manufacturers, suppliers and importers to discuss ways to partner with each other to help catalyse the growth of the pharmaceutical industry and improve investment.
Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said the Association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote business partnerships between Ghanaian companies and their Indian counterparts for their mutual benefits.
“It is imperative for Ghanaian and Indian pharmaceutical companies to work collaboratively to produce medicines and other essential items so that we become self-reliant and make our economies resilient to any future global pandemic," Mr Twum-Akwaboah said.
Mr Birenda Singh, the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, said the exhibition was an important platform to strengthen bilateral relations between Ghana and India towards reinvigorating their economies, ravaged by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Key stakeholders and associations in the pharmaceutical industry are participating in the event, including the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Association of Ghana Industries, Association of Health Service Administrators, the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association, Pharmaceutical Society, the Ghana Medical Association, the African Chamber of Youth Development.
It brought together manufacturers, exporters, wholesalers, dealers and distributors in the pharmaceutical and medical diagnostic industry, as well as the pharmaceutical machinery, hospitals and influential decision-makers in the West African sub-region.
The exhibitors are from India, Turkey, Ghana, USA, Egypt and Italy, with about 5000 visitors expected to visit the various pavilions to interact with them and transact business.
Mr Thomas James, Project Director of West Africa Pharma and Healthcare, told journalists during the opening ceremony that as the first-ever health business forum in Ghana, it would bring together key decision-makers and captains of health and industry players to discuss pertinent issues that would ensure innovation and engender the growth of the health sector.
The seminars would also help to form partnerships that could result in the establishment of local pharmaceutical companies to produce medicines domestically, Mr James said.