President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday officially signalled the beginning of Ghana’s trading relationship with other African countries under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
This means that Ghanaian entrepreneurs and manufacturers could start trading and exporting goods to countries that had signed and ratified the agreement, which took off on January 1, 2021.
Delivering an address at a business forum to appraise stakeholders on Ghana’s implementation arrangements for a seamless trade under the agreement, President Akufo-Addo stated that the start of trading under the AfCFTA represented an important step towards realising the goal of Continental integration.
He said the development was a pivotal step for job creation, industrialisation and sustainable development for the youth of Ghana, adding that the Government would ensure that Ghanaian businesses derived maximum benefits from the AfCFTA agreement.
The forum was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to focus attention on the implementation arrangements of the commencement of trading under the AfCFTA.
Ghana spearheaded the acceleration of the implementation of the African continental integration endeavour, and was honoured with privilege to host the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra by the African Union.
On Friday, January 1, 2021, trading officially commenced under the AfCFTA agreement, which main objectives are to create a continental common market that facilitates the movement of goods, services and persons and promote industrial development and sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth in Africa.
Noting several reasons why the AfCFTA would succeed, President Akufo-Addo said that a single African market would increase intra-Africa trade by as much as 35 billion dollars per annum, by harnessing the purchasing power of the continent’s 1.2 billion people.
He stated that the agreement would unlock and transform the huge resource endowment of the continent through value addition, increase export revenue earnings in Africa and promote regional value chain, as well as create massive job opportunities for the continent’s teeming youth.
The President said the Government’s strategy for supporting the private sector to boost exports to other African nations, underpinned Ghana’s action plans for boosting intra-African trade.
Fortunately for Ghana, he said, Government had instituted a National Export Development Strategy that would enable the country to take full advantage of the phenomenal opportunities presented by the trading arrangement.
The implementation of the Government’s flagship and priority programmes such as the One District, One Factory initiative, the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Food and Export Programme, the Strategic Anchor Industries initiative, the Port Modernisation programme, and the new Integrated Trade Facilitation and Customs Management System, are designed to transform the Ghanaian economy and position Ghana as the new manufacturing hub for the Region.
Government, President Akufo-Addo said, was committed to ensuring that adequate financial and human resources are mobilised to make Ghana a new commercial centre for trade, finance, and investment on the Continent.
He urged stakeholders in the export value chain, including the relevant ministries, trade and investment promotion agencies, regulatory institutions, and business development service providers, to work closely towards the common goal of ensuring a common continental market.
Africa’s intra trade stands at a meagre 16 to 18 per cent, with the continent doing the bulk of its trade with the rest of the world, exporting its resources, including that of the extractive sector, in mostly raw state.
The AfCFTA agreement coming on stream, would remove all barriers to intra Africa trade, give the continent’s peoples access to much bigger markets, as it supports increased industrialization and value addition on the continent.