MSMEs applaud Ghana’s AfCFTA Office (NCO) and UNDP


… for education on exporting to other African markets

Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) have applauded Ghana’s National AfCFTA Coordination Office (NCO) and UNDP for equipping them with the requisite skills and understanding of the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to take advantage of the Continental Trading Agreement to expand their market and grow their businesses.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, through the National AfCFTA Coordination Office in collaboration with the UNDP, undertook intensive education of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kumasi as part of their Market Expansion Project aimed at equipping MSMEs to harness full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Several MSMEs who participated in the three (3) day training on AfCFTA attested to now having a deeper understanding of the African market, and what it will take them to build on their business and thus harness benefits of the AfCFTA as a continental trading agreement.

Lydia, Sarfoa, an SME and MD of Sarfosco ventures – producer of Star laundry soap said: “I didn’t know much about AfCFTA, but after this programme I’ve been able to learn how to prepare, plan and know the various market opportunities available in Africa for Small Scale Industries like us”. She expressed gratitude to the NCO and UNDP for the opportunity to understand nuances of the AfCFTA.

Constance Bonsu, CEO-Constance Naturals, couldn’t hide her joy of getting understanding into seeing her products on the shelves of shops in other African countries. “I am elated, because for the first time I can see AfCFTA has really come home; we have been engaged and given forms with the promise that they will be coming to visit us. So now I can confidently say that, yes, we are taking-off on AfCFTA; and, yes, they have really come home to the small business entrepreneur, and I hope they are going to live up to expectations on what they have inspired in us and we will be able to break through the continental market because of their interventions,” said Constance, who couldn’t hide her excitement.

Another SME, Benedicta Owusu, CEO-Benefoods and Consult, admitted her initial ignorance about the AfCFTA until benefitting from the training by the NCO in partnership with UNDP. “I have heard so much about AfCFTA, but I didn’t know how to position my business to take advantage of it. So, I am very grateful to the National AfCFTA Office and UNDP for this training.”

Elizabeth Agyapong is an SME involved in the manufacturing of organic skin-care products, and believes that she is now well prepared to storm the African market with the training offered by the Ghana National AfCFTA Coordination Office (NCO). “We’ve heard a lot about AfCFTA, but today’s meeting with the National AfCFTA Office and UNDP is so amazing because our products were going into other African markets without us knowing that we can actually do exports to those countries. We’ve learnt how to export, and the right ways to pass to do very good exports of our products to other African markets. I have been very fortunate and I’m thankful to be part of this training programme by the Ghana AfCFTA Office and UNDP,” she expressed.

According to Divine Kutortse, a Programme Officer at NCO and also the NCO/UNDP Project Officer, Aspiration 6 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 envisions an Africa whose development is people-driven – relying on the potential of Africa’s people, especially women and youth. Furthermore, to broaden inclusiveness in operation of the AfCFTA through interventions that support young Africans, women and Small and Medium Enterprises – as well as integrating informal cross-border traders into the formal economy – is significant to implementing the simplified trade regime.

“Competitive youth-led firms have the potential to create more and better jobs, and foster production and trade of diversified goods and services across the continent; which promotes access to a wide range of goods and services and increased income, thus ultimately improving lives of the African people,” the NCO officer opined.

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