Ghana has been chosen by the Executive Council of the African Union to host the secretariat – African Trade Centre – for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA is an agreement advanced by the African Union (AU) that will create the largest free trade area in the world, and is one of the flagship projects of the AU Agenda 2063 – which is a long-term development programme urging closer African integration by facilitating the flow of goods and people throughout the continent.
Africa may emerge as a US$2.5trillion potential market for household consumption and US$4.2trillion for business-to-business consumption.
The treaty will result in a unified market of over 1. 2 billion people, with a combined gross product of over US$3trillion, the African Union has stated.
Creating one African market will prioritise goods and services, invariably leading to the creation of job opportunities.
About 44 African heads of state and government officials on March 21, 2018, signed onto the framework to establish the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
It is believed that the AfCFTA, if fully implemented, could increase intra-African trade significantly and promote structural transformation by providing a lever for industrial development in African economies.
However, is Ghana ready to compete in a single continental market with other African countries?
A free trade agreement will also increase Africa’s competitiveness and boost Ghana’s manufacturing sector. It is expected to spur economic growth in Ghana, boost industrialisation, and improve infrastructure development and business diversification.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) will be the institution responsible for implementation of the AfCFTA in Ghana. This week, the Ghanaian Parliament has recalled members for an emergency sitting to deliberate over the AfCFTA.
It will be an enabler to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ghana and the continent as a whole. Ghana has much to gain from the AfCFTA, as it might help wean Africa off foreign aid – an objective that His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo strongly advocates with his ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ campaign.