Industry players have acknowledged the need to prioritize transport supply chain logistics simultaneously with the implementation of the AfCFTA in order for the continent to achieve optimum benefits from the Single Continental Market agreement.
Speaking at the 2022 Charted Institute of Logistics and Transport Africa Forum in Accra, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa said the AfCFTA offers the opportunity to develop intra-regional value chains that to goes beyond only exploiting and exporting raw materials from the smallest supplier to big manufacturers.
“We must develop linkages that enhance our ability and capacity to feed industry in a sustainable way if we are to reap the full benefit of our integration agenda, much of our efforts must be to ensuring that all participants are on the right side of the value chains,” he said.
Minister of Transport in a speech delivered on his behalf by his deputy, Hassan Selemana Tampuli, said AfCFTA and Africa’s transport infrastructure programmes were intrinsically linked and should be implemented simultaneously
He therefore called for the need to develop programmes including the trans-African highways and the single African air transport market at the same level with AfCFTA.
Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, addressing the participants, emphasized that transport and logistics and AfCFTA were interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
“Challenges in logistics services such as insufficient coordination between countries regarding border procedures, inefficiency of customs clearance systems and fragmented and substandard transportation as well as delays in terminal handling and clearance of goods can cause significant hindrance to the successful implementation of the AfCFTA,” he noted.
Mr. Mene further reiterated calls to African states to leverage its inland waterways and short sea shipping as viable means of goods transport if they could properly take advantage of the single continental market.
Dr. Fareed Arthur, Head of the National AfCFTA Coordinating Office, charged Ghanaian businesses to brace themselves for competition under the single continental market whilst urging them prepare adequately to become commercially viable and ready for meaningful trading on the market.
“The more competitive the market becomes, the better the African consumer will be served; so, we must not be afraid of competition. I don’t think competition is something we should protect ourselves against, you’ll only have to produce better goods for the market,” he indicated.