Regional conferences on AfCFTA, National Export Dev’t Strategy roll out this month

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Dr. Afua Asabea Asare--CEO of GEPA

Regional conferences on implementing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and National Export Development Strategy are being rolled out nationwide throughout the month of November.

This follows on the heels of the national conference held at the Accra International Conference Centre on October 20 – 21, 2020 and opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA as special guest.

The events are being organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and National AfCFTA Coordination Office, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana Standards Authority, Food & Drugs Authority, Ghana Eximbank, Ghana Revenue Authority – Customs as supporting institutions and Stanbic Bank as sponsor.

The first regional conference came off in the Ashanti Region and took place at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Adum, Kumasi, on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.  The conference was opened by Simon Osei-Mensah, Regional Minister for the Ashanti Region, with Nana Dr. Baffour Ossei Hyeaman Brantuo VI – Mawerehene of Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II – as Guest Speaker.

Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister for Trade & Industry gave the keynote address on conference’s theme, ‘Empowering Ghanaian Businesses to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement under the framework of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS)’.

The regional conferences’ objective is to sensitise relevant stakeholders from the private and public sectors, especially Ghanaian businesses in the various regions, about export development interventions aimed at empowering the private sector.

The regional events are intended to be a lot more interactive, with an aim of engaging the private sector to enable it appreciate existing opportunities within the newly-launched National Export Development Strategy and how they can effectively access opportunities within the AfCFTA.

Representatives from the exporter community, private business owners, senior public service officials, private sector representatives in the regions, development partners and the media are expected to actively participate in these regional discussions.

The month of November has been dedicated to these roadshows to ensure business communities in all 16 regions appreciate the relevance and impact of AfCFTA on their businesses, and how the National Export Development Strategy is positioned to empower the private sector to access the African market through interventions in export.

The AfCFTA/NEDS sensitisation train is expected to stop-over in all 16 regions following the National Conference in Accra, as trading under the AfCFTA is scheduled to begin on January 1st, 2021. Watch out for when the Regional Conference makes a stop in your region. The first National Conference on AfCFTA was organised by government in August 2019, followed by the second in October 2020 when the National Export Development Strategy was launched.

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