Ghanaian institutions have been asked to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and work together to ensure the growth of the private sector.
The call was made by a deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa, when he delivered a speech at the National AfCFTA stakeholder forum in Ho yesterday.
Mr Krapa said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo sees the implementation of the AfCFTA and the successful participation of Ghanaian businesses as a critical component of the government’s vision of ‘a Ghana beyond Aid’.
He stressed that current initiatives of the government are all designed to transform the economy and enable Ghana optimize the benefits of the AfCFTA. The initiatives include the Industrial Transformation Agenda, the National Export Development Strategy, the Development of Strategic Anchor Industries, the One District One Factory programme, Iron and Steel Industry Development Programme, the establishment of industrial parks and special economic zones across the country, SME Development and the development of the automotive industry.
He said the Ghana government, as a leader of the continent’s integration agenda, had put measures in place in its quest to implement the African Union’s flagship initiative, which presents a major opportunity for African countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.
“This will not happen by chance,” he stressed, indicating the need for an all-hands-on deck approach. “To succeed, relevant agencies must work together to ensure a reliable and efficient system of support to the Ghanaian business sector,” Mr Krapa said.
He disclosed that as part of efforts to coordinate the support to the local business community, government had established an institutional framework made up of an inter-ministerial facilitation committee at the apex, the national AfCFTA steering committee, the national AfCFTA coordination office and seven technical working groups in key thematic areas for boosting intra African trade.
“The National Coordination Office is, among other things, to facilitate the coordinated response of the multiple institutions that play very important roles needed to ensure our successful implementation of the AfCFTA,” Mr Krapa added.
The AfCFTA emphasises the reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and the facilitation of free movement of people and labour, right of residence, right of establishment, and investment. It aims at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.
The 2-day AfCFTA stakeholder forum, organised by the National AfCFTA Coordination Office, seeks to bring all stakeholders in trade together to appreciate the role of AfCFTA and its implementation for inclusive growth and harmonise the action plans of all agencies and institutions of trade in the country.
Over two stakeholders are participating in this all-important forum. They include the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Ghana Association of Bankers, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana International Trade Commission, Ghana Shippers Authority, Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate, National Communications Authority, among others.
Mr Krapa urged the stakeholders to pursue a common and shared AfCFTA implementation approach, which is efficient, and avoids duplication and waste. “We cannot waste any more time than we have already lost,” he remarked.