The Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Gunnar Holm has highlighted the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost peace and stability in Africa.
At the maiden edition of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre’s stakeholder dialogue series, the ambassador said, “AfCFTA has the potential to drive Africa’s integration in a direction that fits in with the continent’s unique composition of countries, of people, resources and economic development.”
“There will be challenges, but I am convinced that this is the way to go for regional peace and stability, for economic and social development and for fully harnessing the potential of the continent.”
The theme of the dialogue was “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Private Sector: Towards Effective Development and Sustainable peace,” and was organized to bring together stakeholders in the private sector to discuss how they can work together towards helping maintain peace and security in Africa.
“I am very strong believer in the role of the economy and the private sector in driving regional integration and through that, establishing strong structures for peace,” H.E Gunnar Holm also said.
He also emphasized on the need to focus on soft human security issues like unemployment and poverty.
“I think that by moving more towards more soft human security, the kind of security that concerns and affects so many different people on this continent and around the world, we will continue to make the centre and our discussion relevant. Because when we talk about security from unemployment, economic hardship, disease, from lack of education and from so many of the global challenges.”
Private sector plays a major role in peace and stability – Deputy German Ambassador to Ghana
The deputy German ambassador to Ghana, H.E Hans-Hegle Sander, while speaking at the same event, also pointed out the importance of the private sector in promoting peace and stability in the region.
“We acknowledge the relevance of the private sector in addressing the structural causes of insecurity. There is no doubt that economic development has a key role in addressing poverty, lack of jobs and underdevelopment, which, if left unchecked, could be a driver for mass grievances and instability. There is significant potential for stronger partnership between peacebuilding institutions and private sector agents. The private sector is involved in social cohesion initiatives and leveraging its influence to promote stability at the state and community levels through corporate social responsibility and involvement in policy consultations and dispute resolution mechanisms.”