Good corporate governance structures have been identified as key catalysts for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in the country.
Formulated with core pillars of accountability, integrity, responsibility, transparency and efficiency, the National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) said, good corporate structures can speed up the realisation of a single African market and its accompanying benefits for the private sector.
To this end, NAPRM-GC said it will lead various stakeholder engagements with businesses, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), state enterprises, and civil society organisations (CSOs) as well as family-owned businesses to gather information on corporate governance adherence and challenges in the country.
The data, which will then be presented to African Heads of State for peer review and recommendations, will guide state actors in strengthening corporate governance practices among businesses in the informal sector to be able to participate in cross-border trade, and harness the benefits of AfCFTA.
Chief Programme Officer, NAPRM-GC – Patrick Adu Osei, speaking at a media forum held in Accra, explained that because AfCFTA would enable member-states to trade among themselves, there is a need for businesses to adhere to good corporate governance practices.
“APRM realised that if we are able to harness corporate governance to support the continental free trade area objective, we will be able to propel economic development,” he said.
Contrary to widely held perception that corporate governance practices are a reserve for big firms and multinational entities, he said it is equally important for small enterprises and start-ups to imbibe the culture of good corporate practices in their businesses.
Executive Secretary, NAPRM-GC, Winniefred Akoto-Sampong, indicated that Ghana’s first peer review was done in 2006 under the leadership of former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Touching on reasons for the long pause between the country’s first review and the second targetted review, she cited lack of financial commitment from the government and politics.
“Research has shown that the dominant businesses in our country are those in the informal sector – family businesses and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. These categories do not have corporate governance structures; some do not even know what it means, and so we want to use this medium to help them understand its importance and use it to grow their businesses so that the country can benefit from AfCFTA,” she said.
In August 2022, President Nana Akufo-Addo inaugurated the targetted review for Ghana, themed: ‘Corporate Governance as a Catalyst for the Implementation of AfCFTA in Ghana’.