By Claude Nyarko Adams
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday launched the national African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Policy Framework and Action Plan with a charge on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to expedite and effectively implement programmes aimed at boosting Ghana’s export to other African countries.
According to him, successful implementation of the programmes under the framework would empower local businesses to engage in exports which would ultimately boost local economic activity, growth, jobs and earnings.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch in Accra yesterday, he said the National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan was geared towards the harmonisation of relevant policies, programmes, laws, and regulations to boost the productive capacities of the private sector, particularly the small and medium scale enterprises to harness the full benefits of AfCFTA.
“A successful implementation of the Action Plan will boost the capacities of the Ghanaian private sector to take advantage of market access opportunities in Africa to promote ‘Made in Ghana’ goods and services,” he stated.
He argued that, owing to the current economic challenges occasioned by COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, there was the need for Ghana and other African countries to develop measures to improve the productive capacities of the private sector and increase intra-African trade.
“The effective operationalisation of the AfCFTA Agreement in Ghana would significantly boost Ghana’s balance of trade, stimulate investment and innovation, diversify exports, improve food security, foster structural transformation, enhance economic growth, and above all, provide jobs for the youth,” the President stated.
This, he said, required that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Coordinating office of the AfCFTA work together to create enabling environment for businesses to improve production and overdone hurdles that might come their way.
President Akufo-Addo assured the private sector that the government was working through the framework and action plan and other initiatives to make it easier for Ghanaian businesses to get access to the African market to enable them trade more goods and services.
“Yours is to take advantage of it and collaborate with us to resolve any teething challenges that may come up. But no matter the nature of the challenges, be resolved to work with us, hand in hand, to make this work.
“It is in our national interest to not take this window of opportunity lightly,” he added.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, said, as host country for the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana was uniquely positioned to become the new commercial capital of Africa by leveraging on the trade and investment opportunities that the AfCFTA presents, to accelerate the development and growth of the national economy.
The National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan was based on inputs from a broad range of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors adding that the Plan outlines the short to medium-term implementation priorities and strategies for the Ghanaian private sector to harness the full benefits of the AfCFTA.
He called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), together with institutions including Banks, Insurance companies, Transport and Logistics companies to work together to empower the private sector in Ghana in the face of the AfCFTA.
Mr Kyerematen said the government on its part, would provide the needed political impetus and create the enabling environment to ensure the successful implementation of AfCFTA in the country.
Mohamed Ali, Director of Trade in Goods and Competition, said the AfCFTA offered a unique opportunity to Ghana to diversify and expand its intra Africa trade beyond ECOWAS to other regional economic communities and to connect to 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined GDP of 3.4 trillion USD.
He noted that the market access opportunities provided by the AfCFTA would enable Ghana to enhance its productive capacity in the agriculture sector and agro-processing industry as well as in the automotive sector, adding value to Ghanaian commodities and integrating the regional and continental value chains.
In order to promote and boost intra African trade, he said, the AfCFTA Secretariat continues to partner with the African Development Bank, Afreximbank and Equity Bank amongst others, to launch series of projects with the aim to support private sector implementation of the AfCFTA and regional and continental value chains.