Chief Executive of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, Kosi Yankey-Aryeh, is calling on African leaders and private sector players to sponsor regulations that seek to sponsor women businesses on the continent.
According to her, the formalisation of women-led businesses and entrepreneurship is essential to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, becomes successful.
Speaking at a capacity building workshop for women traders in the ECOWAS sub-region, she called for the speedy completion of the Protocol on Women in Trade to facilitate greater trade opportunities for women under the AfCFTA.
“To ensure that the maximum benefit from AfCFTA is derived, we believe that the AfCFTA would not happen until it is properly and effectively implemented. Accordingly, government has undertaken series of public sensitization workshops across the length and breadth of the nation to update the private sector on the implementation of the AfCFTA protocols and the operational requirement in the effective training in the market.”
“The AfCFTA is a major tool to transform the African economy and this transformation could be accelerated if women and gender issues are made central and incorporated in national AfCFTA strategy documents for implementation. It is our collective desire to leave no one behind. I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to the private sector and its development partners to support the great efforts of our women entrepreneurs. We need to support them to realize their full AfCFTA through enactment of laws and regulation,” she said.
The African Continental Free Trade Area, which commenced on January 1, 2021, consolidates a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.
Because of the agreement, Africa’s manufacturing output is expected to double to $1 trillion, creating 14 million jobs by 2025.
Being a game-changer, there is no doubt that the continent-wide pact is pivotal to the economic transformation of Africa. However, a plethora of Non-Tariff Barriers has affected the smooth participation of women in trade, and the potential for inclusive growth.
According to a recent study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2017, 70 per cent of the informal traders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are women. In West and Central Africa, informal cross-border trade among women represents more than 60% and generates about 40 to 60% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries concerned.