French Speaking Is Necessary For Effective Intra-African Trade

Frank Oppong, the Project Logistics Manager at Jonmoore International Limited, has proposed that security officials who are involved in the transit trade, including the Police, Customs and Immigration be trained in the French language in order to bolster their abilities to communicate effectively with transit economic operators and truck drivers who are mostly Francophone.

Speaking on Eye on Port, the Project Logistics Manager of the international haulage company, specialized in out of gauge cargoes, and project cargo, said with the availability of bilingual security officials at their various check points and offices on the transit corridor, the transit trade will be simplified and alleged incidents of extortions with accompanying delays and misunderstandings caused by the obvious language gap will be minimized drastically.

“Just imagine a truck driver getting to a check point where he does not have any clue of the English language and our team over there can only speak English, it leads to delays and then the next thing is the alleged extortion,” he expressed.

Mr. Frank Oppong said, “a some of our police men and customs men need to be trained so they can assist, especially now that we are going into the African Continental Free Trade Area.”

Also speaking on the same platform, the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce Representative in Ghana, Sherif Ouedraogo corroborated the thoughts of Mr. Oppong and said language barrier is the main hindrance to business relations between Ghana and its Sahelian regional neighbors.

He said his outfit would like to collaborate with the Ghana Chamber of Commerce for the establishment of bilingual schools for use by businesspersons in both countries which would go a long way to improve intra-regional business relations.

“Burkina Chamber of Commerce is a public institution and we can get some form of agreement with Ghana Chamber of Commerce who we have a good relationship with, to create a school where the Ghanaian can learn French and the Burkinabe, English.”

Sherif Ouedraogo also called for the setting up of a CFA Bank to reduce the cost of doing transit business in Ghana which would also go a long way to woo more transit economic operators to use Ghana’s ports and corridors.

“At the high level talks are ongoing to get this CFA Bank to improve trade in Ghana’s corridor,” he revealed.

He however praised improvement in valuation, automation of port processes and port infrastructure development taken place in Ghana as interventions that the transit business is benefitting massively from.

The Project Logistics Manager at Jonmoore International Limited, Frank Oppong also praised significant strides made to improve port infrastructure in the country, in efforts to make Ghana the gateway for maritime trade in the sub region.

“Ghana has positioned itself for the AfCFTA. With the expansion at our ports, we can handle vessels with 16m draft and we are also now able to receive more volumes,” he said.

He urged government to expedite processes for the provision of rail infrastructure that would give Ghana’s corridor a further boost in efforts to woo more transit business to its corridor.

“We need to do more to get more transit trade,” he emphasized.

Mr. Frank Oppong said this is crucial as Ghana needs more than its geographical advantage and improved port infrastructure to win the transit market over competing countries who are already making use of effective rail systems.

“We stand at a disadvantaged point where we are the only Anglophone country among the neighbours of Burkina Faso so we need to do more to receive more transit trade. For example, if you go to Ivory Coast, there is a railway that goes straight into Burkina Faso. But we are on the verge of getting to that point,” the Project Logistics Manager at Jonmoore International articulated.

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