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Ghana moves ahead of Nigeria to domesticate AfCFTA objectives

Not necessarily because it has been adopted as the clearing house and operational headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA), Ghanaian government has stepped up activities and structures to stand a better chance of gaining more from the scheme on takeoff from July 1, 2020.

This week, Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief reports that the government of Ghana has already commissioned a Technical Working Groups (TWGs) drawn from the public and private sector organizations to domesticate and actualise the AfCFTA objectives, so as to ensure Ghana derives maximum benefits from the continental framework.

Details showed that the seven TWGs, comprised over 100 technical experts from the various sectors of the economy, mandated to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan to boost Intra-African trade and ensure the nation takes full advantage of the opportunities presented by AfCFTA to enhance economic growth.

Top in the list include Trade Policy, Trade Facilitation, Enhancing Productive Capacity, Trade-Related Infrastructure, Trade Finance, Trade Information and Factor Market Integration, which were created based on the seven clusters of the Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) proposed by the African Leaders during the AfCFTA’s adoption.

Explaining during the inauguration in Accra, the Minister of trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, noted that the boosting of Intra-African trade required the adoption and implementation of efficient trade policies at the national, regional and continental levels, geared towards the promotion of intra-African trade.

Accordingly, the Minister enjoined members of the technical groups to be sentimentally and psychologically convinced about the objectives of AfCFTA and should critically examine the various policy interventions instituted by successive governments, in order to close the gaps inherent in them.

He made it clear that no single country could achieve economic growth without aligning itself with a regional trade bloc and cited countries like the USA, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia and other advanced nations that developed their economies through their association with their regional trade blocs.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a duty-free quota single market established by the AfCFTA Treaty, which came into force on May 30, 2019, after the 22 countries including Ghana deposited instruments of ratification with the African Union Commission (AUC).

Of the 55 African countries, 54 had signed the AfCFTA Agreement with 28 member countries already ratified the Treaty to enhance intra-African trade. Currently, it has a market value of $2.5 trillion with a population of 1.2 billion.

AfCFTA is expected to expand and transform the manufacturing and agriculture sectors to promote Intra-African trade, inclusive growth and trade competitiveness in Africa.

The AfCFTA will come into full operation in March this year while trading in goods and services comes off on July 1, 2020.

Continuing, Kyerematen averred that “For any nation to go global you need to join a regional market and I believe that the AfCFTA will become a single most significant factor to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Africa.

“This will help create joint ventures, scale up capacity, open market opportunities for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).This is a game changer and there is no turning back,” the Minister pointed out.

While recalling that “We are all aware that Ghana had already developed a National Trade Policy with various strategic intentions put in place to boost export,” the Minister charged the technical groups to identify the gaps so that the nation could take full advantage of being the host of AfCFTA Secretariat, to increase export, create jobs and accelerate economic development.