The UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) has disclosed that its members are preparing to reach the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Chamber, which promotes business partnerships between British and Ghanaian investors, is optimistic the AfCFTA will create unique opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). According to trade experts, the AfCFTA presents a major opportunity for Ghanaian businesses to reach over 1.3 billion people across 55 countries within Africa.
This, the Chamber believes, will attract British investors to partner Ghanaian businesses in taking advantage of the platform. As part of measures to prepare its members, the Chamber has outlined plans to equip its members through training and capacity building.
“Strategies for seizing the AfCFTA opportunities include building the capacity and increasing the readiness of their workforces, investment in infrastructure and adoption of digital technologies,” Adjoba Kyiamah, Executive Director of the UKGCC, told the B&FT.
She explained that the Chamber has deployed technology to reach British investors and Ghanaian business owners due to COVID-19 restrictions. “As a Chamber, we are offering our members webinars and programmes aimed at building their capacity for business development, expansion and growth,” she stressed.
In terms of advocacy, Ms. Kyiamah said the Chamber is working behind the scenes to provide input for the policies that will be governing the AfCFTA.
Taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation
Despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on global businesses, Ms. Kyiamah said the Chamber took advantage of the situation to remotely engage investors between the two countries.
She stated that prior to the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic in 2020, the Chamber at the Ghana Investment and Opportunities Summit – held on the sidelines of the UK Africa Summit in London – took a number of Ghanaian investors and businesses to meet UK businesses and investors.
However, Ms. Kyiamah said the year-long plan of the Chamber was distorted by outbreak of the pandemic – hence the need to kick-in other plans. “The rest of our trade missions (inbound and outbound) were later cancelled due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures in Ghana and the UK. This notwithstanding, we continued to provide trade services, networking and business match-making for businesses and investors in Ghana seeking business partnerships in the UK.”
She stated that the ‘Doing Business in Ghana Webinar series’ organised by the Ghana High Commission in the UK, with the support of the UKGCC, provided the appropriate platforms for Ghanaian investors to engage their UK counterparts.
Recent trade agreement between Ghana and UK due to Brexit
The UK and Ghana on March 2, 2021 signed a Trade Partnership Agreement securing tariff-free trade between the two countries and providing a platform for greater economic and cultural cooperation.
The deal supports a trading relationship worth £1.2billion and reinstates terms of the economic partnership agreement between the two sides when the UK was part of the EU.
By this, Ghanaian products including bananas, canned tuna and cocoa will benefit from tariff-free access to the United Kingdom. UK exports are also in line to benefit from tariff liberalisation from 2023, including machinery, electronics and chemical products.
Commenting on the agreement, Ms. Kyiamah said the deal provides a good opportunity for Ghanaian exporters to take advantage of. “We are happy that Ghana and the UK have now signed a trade agreement restoring the duty-free and quota-free tariffs applied on Ghanaian exports to the U.K. market before Brexit, as well as restoring the preferential tariffs applied on UK exports to Ghana.”