A study conducted by Civil Society Organisation ‘CUTS International’ on assessing the conditions needed to allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of AfCFTA has revealed that SMEs in Ghana lack a robust management system, necessary certifications, export licences and requisite funds.
According to the West Africa Director for Civil Society Organisations-CUTS International, Appiah Kusi-Adomako: “When one is exporting, you should be able to have resources to provide some 30, 60, 90-day credit to give to the importer from the other side. Most of the indigenous SMEs do not have that, even though some of the foreign-owned companies in Tema Free Zone for example have”.
He said when talking about Ghana’s readiness for AfCFTA it is necessary to decouple private sector readiness from state readiness.
Speaking on Eye on Port, Mr. Kusi-Adimako therefore called on the private sector of Ghana to match the public sector’s strides when it comes to readiness for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
Small Scale Enterprises in particular are being urged to build their capacities to be able to trade effectively and efficiently by the time trading under AfCFTA swings into full gear.
He made this call in the aftermath of the National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan launch.
Mr. Kusi-Adomako had high praise for the government of Ghana’s leadership role on the continent when it comes to creating the enabling environment needed for trading to take off.
He said not only has government hosted the AfCFTA secretariat, but has been one of the earliest countries to ratify it; and is now one of the first to develop a strategic policy framework and action plan.
“We have taken a lead among other African countries, and largely because the AfCFTA is also the president’s pet child. He managed to get Ghana to host the secretariat and he is also doing a lot with the 1D1F project. I also want to congratulate the National Coordination Office headed by Dr Fareed Arthur. They have done a good job, in addition to the Ministry of Trade,” Mr. Kusi-Adomako said.
He emphasised that government efforts will only be fruitful when complemented by the commitment of stakeholders, especially the private sector.
The West Africa Director for CUTS International urged private sector members to familiarise themselves with the national AfCFTA policy framework, in order to align their activities with the vision of government so that together they can achieve success.
He explained that while trading in itself has been close to inactive, the public sector has been assiduous in its preparatory interventions to ready businesses for trading.
Mr. Kusi-Adomako said: “Knowledge and information are key to making the right decisions. So government, through its agencies, has made sure that people know about AfCFTA, the opportunities inherent, and market intelligence so people can know where their products are in high demand. A lot of sensitisation workshops have been held with the support of other development partners and donor agencies”.
Citing the proverbial ‘Rome was not built in a day’, the trade expert expressed optimism for Ghana’s fortunes in the free market.