National AfCFTA Coordinating Office declares readiness to empower SMEs

National AfCFTA Coordinating Office declares readiness to empower SMEs

The Head of Strategic Communications, Catherine Afeku, says that the National AfCFTA Coordinating Office’s strategy is to reach out directly to potential exporters through consistent engagements and stakeholder deliberations to enhance the capacity of Ghanaian women traders in the single continental market, and hand-hold local export businesses to equip them with the requisite information and preparations which will help them to competitively access the AfCFTA.

“Firstly, we have to take the message to them regarding how they can get started for the market. And that’s by taking communication right down to them on the ground through stakeholder engagements with young entrepreneurs and women especially – who make up the bulk of the SMEs sector,” she told Single African Market.

She indicated that the Office has already developed a three-stepped process for businesses seeking to register for the AfCFTA that is less intimidating and simplified.

“We want to create an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs who are the future of this continent. As the host nation, we have to lead our people through the AfCFTA journey; and we have to be seen taking due advantage of its opportunities,” she added.

In the area of trade finance, Mrs. Afeku urged commercial banks to have dedicated desks that will fast-track AfCFTA-based transactions aligned to the Pan-African Payments and Settlement Systems (PAPSS).

“We feel the enthusiasm about the PAPSS. What we are doing now is to ensure that there are focal persons in our banks to attend to AfCFTA issues. A trader shouldn’t walk into the bank and seem lost; there can be a desk like they have for retail banking and private banking,” she said.

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