Regional Representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and heads of Business Advisory Centres (BACs) and Business Resource Centres (BRCs) in some six (6) districts of Ghana – including Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Sefwi Wiawso Municipal Assembly, Jomoro Municipal Assembly, Sagnarigu district Assembly and Kassena–Nankana West district Assembly – have been trained on the AfCFTA and its requirements for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by Ghana’s National AfCFTA Coordination Office (NCO) in collaboration with the UNDP.
According to Dr. Fareed Arthur, head of the AfCFTA National Coordination Office, the Government of Ghana through the NCO is committed to mobilising resources and implementing measures with a view to improving the export capacity of both formal and informal service suppliers, with particular attention to micro, small and medium size enterprises, women and youth suppliers.
The heads of state agencies with mandates to promote the activities of MSMEs were taken through the ACFTA’s current status, various protocols, legislations, rules and export requirements under the AfCFTA. They are expected to return to their various districts and disseminate information to MSMEs at the local level, to help them remain compliant to export requirements under the AfCFTA and boost their trade with Africa.
Daniel Owusu Ansah, a deputy director with Ghana Enterprise Agency in the Ashanti Region, expressed gratitude to the NCO, UNDP and MoTI for the insightful education on the AfCFTA.
“In fact, today I am happy to learn about AfCFTA, which is a single large market that creates borderless trading for 55 countries of Africa with a population of 1.3bn people and has the potential to generate GDP of US$3.4trillion. I have also learnt about the rules of origin components, to the extent that if it’s a good it must be grown and processed in the country. I have also learnt about exportable commodities under AfCFTA; and we were taken through the tools that will support our clients, the SMEs to go through. So, I must say I’m very excited about the programme and it is very educative.”
Henrieta Zatonaga, a deputy regional manager for the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), also expressed her excitement for the training – stressing how beneficial it has been for her. “I have learnt about the rules of origin and how to administer the assessment tool; and I know when I get back to my district I will sensitise my MSMEs on how they can take advantage of the common Africa market, which is a great opportunity for them. And then we will look at how we can categorise the MSMEs in order to consider the capacities in which we can support them, in terms of training, access to certifications and tools required for their preparations to take advantage of the AfCFTA.”
The Business Advisory head for Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Rabiatu Ibrahim, expressed hope that her training on the AfCFTA by the NCO and UNDP will go a long way to improve the businesses of MSMEs in her district. “I have learnt about the certificate of origin and steps required to be taken in order to brand products and meet the standard criteria for exports under the AfCFTA; and when I go back home, I will also share with the MSMEs in my district the knowledge I have acquired.”
Shadrach Oko Annang, also an Assistant-head for the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) in Sewhi Wiaso, thanked the NCO and UNDP for the training – which he described as an eye-opener.
“A lot of people in the various districts have heard about AfCFTA but don’t know much about it. But due to this training, when we go back to our various districts we will be able to enlighten them on the processes, procedures and other requirements for trading with their counterparts in other African countries. We will also put in a lot of effort to bring this free trade into very good use,” he assured.