The government has hinted that, with Ghana hosting the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area, there is no option but ensure that the AfCFTA does not fail and has called on the private sector to embrace AfCFTA from how far government has brought it.
Addressing a stakeholder engagement forum on leveraging opportunities under AfCFTA to boost economic growth in Ghana, organized by the Good Governance Africa (GGA), a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries in charge of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah Adjei emphasized that beyond working hard to have the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana, the government has also created the enabling environment for the private sector to own the AfCFTA and use it to their benefit and the benefit of Ghana and Africa as a whole.
“The Ministry of Trade has led the drafting of National AfCFTA Implementation Plan and established a National AfCFTA Coordination Office located at the African House to act as a one stop facility to cater for the information needs of the Private Sector and these facilities will soon be commissioned by the President of the Republic of Ghana”
The Board Chairman of Good Governance Africa (GGA) and Chief Executive Officer of Private Enterprise Federation, Nana Osei Bonsu concurred that, it will take the collective responsibilities of Private Sector Businesses to prepare themselves adequately to match competition that will arise as a result of AfCFTA.
The Executive Director of Good Governance Africa, Ms. Tina S. Asante-Apeatu said GGA has come to the realization that continues dialogues and the reviews of the AfCFTA should be a constant feature in the implementation pathway of the AfCFTA to identify and address emerging issues.
“We are therefore committed in using our research and advocacy platforms to support this all important and game changing economic policy by the African Union to ultimately help liberate the economies of member states and bring prosperity to all.”
Addressing issues on the National Technical implementation processes so far, the head of Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industries, Mickson Opoku explained that Government has ensured that the Private Sector through Heads of Business Associations have been part of all strategic implementation committees leading up to the drafting of the National AfCFTA Implementational Plan and reechoed the need for the Private Sector to now take charge of the AfCFTA after the National Implementation plan is out doored.
“Private Sector must rather take charge of the AfCFTA from where government has brought it. The African Trade Observatory will soon come into force coupled with the establishment of the National AfCFTA Coordination Office and the National Implementation Strategy Plan. These are indications that government created all the enabling environment and its now the responsibility of the Private Sector to invest in Research and Development to utilize the AfCFTA and when the need be, government will step in to always provide needed support for a conducive atmosphere for the Private Sector” Mr. Opoku advised
Mr. Opoku revealed that effective Trading under the AfCFTA may be more visible from October, 2021, when the various Regional Economic Communities submit their commitment offers for approval by the Assembly of Heads of State
Mr. Fechin Akoto of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority assured that Ghana has already aligned all its import and export procedures to facilitate Trading under AfCFTA.
Meanwhile the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) and the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) charged government to continue to make information on the AfCFTA available to the private sector in order for them to be able to take advantage of the agreement effectively and also educate other informal businesses.