The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has identified some 100 potential companies, to be guided into the African market, with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Head of Ghana AfCFTA Coordinating Office (MoTI), Dr. Fareed Arthur has said.
The move, which is under the ‘Facilitation programme for companies exporting under AfCFTA,’ a strategic project by MoTI, forms part of efforts to get local companies to leverage on the opportunities presented by the continental trade programme.
These targeted companies fall under three main categories: companies already exporting into African countries; companies that export but not to Africa, and companies that produce traditionally for the local market.
Meanwhile, the Trade Ministry wants Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that their policies take into account the potential for growing their capacity for export.
“MMDAs can on regional basis, start looking at setting up their own intra-regional value-chains,” so that they can, for instance, collaborate to produce by using one’s resources and the other’s means of production, if necessary, Dr. Arthur said.
The Head of Ghana AfCFTA Coordinating Office of the Ministry of Trade noted that Ghana already has in place the various authorities, for AfCFTA, demonstrating its long readiness for the landmark trade agreement.
Furthermore, he said “So far, about 18 companies are in various stages of registration,” according to records available to his office.
Mr. Arthur, speaking at the sidelines of a stakeholders’ event organized by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said the increase in the volume of trade and number of companies that are able to take advantage of the trade agreement will help measure its impact.
The stakeholders’ meeting, held in Kumasi, was under the theme, “Unlocking the Potentials of Local Authorities to Harness the Benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area.”
The event was among others aimed at fashioning out the necessary trade tools and guidelines to create the requisite environment for local businesses to take advantage of AfCFTA, which is in its 7th month of implementation.
AfCFTA aims to commit countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods, progressively liberalize trade in services and address a host of other non-tariff barriers.
AfCFTA is been pursued in cognisance of the overall aspirations of the African people, contained in ‘Agenda 2063,’ with the vision to establish an integrated continental market with the free movement of persons, capital, goods, and services.
Ghana has initiated processes and conversations on the opportunities the AfCFTA offers and how Ghanaian manufacturing companies and exporters could take full advantage to reach the larger African market.
However, these strategy formulation processes have not translated to the local government level on how the local economies could be integrated into the regional market.
It is against this background that the NDPC is collaborating with other stakeholders to help develop guidelines on intra-Africa trade for development planning processes of the district assemblies.
The stakeholders include United Nations Development Programme (UNPD), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the National AfCFTA Coordinating Office.
The Director-General of NDPC, Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa said it is critical to build the local economy and enhance the planning capacity at the local level for effective participation in AfCFTA.
“Much as it is responding to our national development of transforming the industrial sector, modernizing agriculture and also improving upon our trade infrastructure in general, it is also pertinent that we look at the big opportunities which been opened to us, by AfCFTA,” he said.
He stressed that taking advantage of complementing production beyond the districts, and linking up with other districts to take advantage of the markets, presented by AfCFTA.
The NDPC, he observed, has a key responsibility to coordinate to enhance the implementation of AfCFTA, and “be able to create the jobs which we have as the center of our medium-term development plan.”
The Economic Advisor for Ghana and The Gambia, of UNDP, Dr Frederick Mugisha, was emphatic that development starts from the districts. Against this background, he noted that localizing AfCFTA would make it more sustainable.
The Director-General of NDPC, Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, addressing participants at the stakeholders’ forum in Kumasi