The Alliance for Development and Industrialisation, (ADI), one of the leading think-tank groups in the country, is urging the Akufo-Addo-led administration – together with the Association of Ghanaian Industries, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ghana Export Promotion Authority to swiftly raise US$5billion in the next five years to support industries so as to enable them to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
This lifeline support to these industries will help them to expand, grow, and give job opportunities to the youths which would make the government rake in more taxes to support its developmental agenda.
It is also imperative for government and the private sector to catapult the drive of this continental free trade. Associations such as the Association of Ghanaian Industries, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Ghana Export Promotion Authority can also take advantage of this and use it as a launch-pad for their members.
Government must support and promote these institutional make-ups as matter of urgency, so they can explore the opportunities to enable them make an entry into these countries.
Ghana has been politically stable after acceding to democracy in 1992, and it has proven to the whole world its political stability.
‘We however pay tribute to our former presidents, Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufuor, John Mahama and our current president Nana Akufo-Addo – and more especially Trade Minister John Alan Kyeremanteng – for creating the neded conducive environment for the country’, it said.
This is the time for Ghana to take the lead as well as take advantage of this continental free trade to grow and strengthen its export market, as it has already begun with the 1D1F and Planting for Export and Rural Development initiatives.
“Ghana’s economy can easily pay back the US$5billion credit facility that we are calling for through the exports of key commodities such as avocado, pineapple, coconut, sweet potato, among others,” it said.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.
According to the ADI: “Government should be able to raise the US$5billion to take advantage of this opportunity, which will put a stop to the way it siphons the economy and still demands output. If we fail to take advantage of this opportunity, then there is a likelihood that the economic growth of this country will become stagnant. We must take advantage of this opportunity to redeem our credibility integrity, and capability in terms of industrialisation,” said Francis Mensah, Convener of ADI.
“Government’s support to these industries should be sectoral based, such that the agriculture sector be focused through the Ministry of Agriculture and the textile and tourism sectors should be handled by the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Tourism. Indeed, we need to think over these entire sectors so they can grow,” he said.
“We thank government, especially the Trade Minister, for their role in pushing such an agenda; but this throws up a big challenge and demands that the industrial sector becomes strong.” the statement said.
The main objectives of the ACFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of a Customs Union.
It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation, and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general. The ACFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scaled production, continental market access, and better reallocation of resources.
Establishment of the CFTA and implementation of the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) provide a comprehensive framework to pursue a developmental regionalism strategy.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since formation of the World Trade Organisation.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and signed onto by 44 of its 55 member-states in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018. The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.