President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the private sector to strive at playing frontline roles in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA, which is a market of some 1.2 billion people, he pointed out, will significantly boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation, diversify exports, improve food security, foster structural transformation, enhance economic growth, unleash the entrepreneurial dynamism of the African peoples, and create jobs for Africa’s youth.
“We, in Ghana, cannot afford to let this window of opportunity slip. We hope that the private sector, facilitated and actively supported by Government, will be at the forefront of trying to take advantage of the vast possibilities presented by the AfCFTA,” President Akufo-Addo reiterated.
President Akufo-Addo has therefore reaffirmed government’s determination “to assist Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of AfCFTA, and to ensure that the required financial and human resources are mobilised and developed to make Ghana a new manufacturing hub and financial services centre for the African continent.”
The president made the comments during the Second National Conference on the AfCFTA at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday.
President Akufo-Addo also explained that the AfCFTA will ensure that trading among the Member States on the continent will be duty-free and quota-free.
“The AfCFTA provides an enormous potential for trade and investments across various sectors which we must exploit,” he stressed.
AfCFTA is expected to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union – a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion.
In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will have the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation when full implementation is successful.
Estimates from the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) suggest that the AfCFTA has the potential both to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by eliminating import duties and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union. It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general.
The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
President Akufo-Addo explained that Government has, since his assumption of office in 2017, implemented various innovative and strategic interventions to promote and expand production and value addition.
These, he noted, include the “One District One Factory” initiative; the development of new, strategic, anchor industries such as garments and textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobile assembly and component manufacturing; the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs; the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) initiative; the establishment of 67 Business Resource Centres, and 31 Technology Solution Centres; and the development of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones.
Underpinning all these initiatives, the President stressed, is the development of a robust and resilient macro-economy, which will establish a strong foundation for the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy.
“I draw attention to these programmes and projects to reiterate the point that, in Ghana, we have already laid the building blocks for our private sector to harness the benefits of AfCFTA,” he added.