Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) is likely to enslave Africans to the rest of the world if the challenges associated with the program are not fixed, the think-tank group Citizen Watch has revealed.
Currently, it is estimated that Ghana needs about US$5billion annually for the next 10 years to support the private sector and enable it compete favourably with its peers. “What is the government position on this?
“What our leaders ought to know is that they are out to take advantage of our resources, by scooping everything we have in the country without bringing in anything,” it said
“Government don’t have funds to support the local industries to enable them compete with their peers; however, the foreign companies will come in with their resources to establish huge factories in the country. They will export the products to neighbouring countries and make their returns on investment, which will be a major disadvantage to us,” it said.
Until these challenges are fixed, the AfCTA will be a conduit for foreign companies to come and take advantage of Africa and sweep our income. They will get cheap/fake labelling, cheap labour, no entry duties – then sell the products to us and carry our money away. This will be the biggest slavery ever to hit the soil of Africa.
“Our first challenge and focus should have been import substitution and how we can capitalise on that, then after we look into exporting to other African countries based on our competitive advantage; but we have turned everything upside down,” the statement said.
According to the Citizen Watch, “We cannot talk about AfCTA without local capacity. We have not been able to meet local demand, so how do we prepare to export? We consider the AfCTA programme as a premature project, and it should be put on hold until we have been able to fix the challenges”.
According to a statement issued in Accra and signed by Elikem Agbenyegah, the leader of the Group, Ghana is not ready for any AfCTA programme. “What government could have done was to put on hold the AfCTA programme and rather negotiate for some treaties with its peers within the sub-region which could be more beneficial to the country.
“But because our leaders have been blindfolded by the foreign investors, they have gone ahead to sign on to the AFCTA without any critical assessment – forgetting that the continent was not prepared for it,” the statement said.
The AfCFTA aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the member-states: covering trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy.
Other continental frameworks include Boosting Intra African Trade (BIAT) which aims to deepen Africa’s market integration and significantly increase the volume of trade that African countries undertake among themselves – from the current levels of about 10-13% to 25% or more within the next decade; and The Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA), which aims to mobilise both financial and nonfinancial resources and enhance Africa’s industrial performance.
Agenda 2063 is the blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into a global powerhouse of the future. It is the strategic framework for delivering on Africa’s goal of inclusive and sustainable development, and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.