27th May 2024

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has stressed the need to boost intra-African trade as well as deepen regional market integration.

 

These, he believes, are the responses to the challenges confronting the continent with regards to the multilateral trading system and the global economy.

 

He noted that many regions and countries have been able to lift their people from poverty to prosperity through trade, lamenting, however, that this is not the case for Africa because its countries do not trade much with each other.

“African countries do not trade much with each other. Intra-African trade stands at around 13 per cent, compared to approximately 60 per cent, 40 per cent, 30 per cent intra-regional trade that has been achieved by Europe, North America and ASEAN respectively,” he said.

 

According to him, “even if allowance is made for Africa’s unrecorded informal cross-border trade, the total level of intra-African trade is not likely to be more than 20 per cent, which is still lower than that of other major regions of the world.”

 

The Minister said this at a ceremony to inaugurate the seven technical working groups (TWGs) to develop Ghana’s National Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) in Accra.

 

BIAT

 

Mr Kyerematen told the gathering that, in 2012, the African Union’s Heads of State and Governments decided to establish BIAT to fast-track the regional integration process, should the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) idea fail.

 

BIAT, which is complementary to the AfCFTA, is aimed at addressing the key constraints and challenges of intra-African trade and significantly enhance the size and benefits of trade for the attainment of sustainable economic growth and development.

 

“This has not permeated in our discussions, so people have forgotten all about this programme and are only concentrating on the fact that there’s now a bigger framework. But, for any country to domesticate the AfCFTA to its local economy, the real important thing to focus on is the BIAT,” he said.

 

He pointed out to stakeholders that “the AfCFTA is the legal framework and does not automatically confer anything”, explaining that “the framework is there, but you have to produce to be able to take advantage of it…every country has to develop a national action plan for the BIAT.”

 

Under BIAT are seven clusters, namely trade policy, trade facilitation, enhancing productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information and factor market integration.

 

 

Technical groups

 

The technical working groups (TWGs) for the seven clusters have therefore been constituted to develop the National Programme of Action for boosting Ghana’s contribution to intra-African trade.

 

The group is made up of over 100 experts from public institutions in the country.

 

In addition, the groups will work to ensure that the Action Plan is ready before the start of the AfCFTA in July this year.

Source: Daily Statesman

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