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Ghana is ready for AfCFTA says Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen

Alan Kyerematen

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has given assurances that with the structures put in place by the Akufo-Addo government, Ghana is ready to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost trade relations with the rest of Africa.

Tthe government has rolled out the necessary conditions to facilitate smooth take-off of the agreement in January 2021, he said.

“I say we are ready on two grounds. First, we have introduced institutional frameworks that make us ready. And I believe you recall that the president has introduced an interministerial facilitation team, made up of critical sector ministers who are supposed to provide strategic guidance and support to make Ghana ready for the AfCFTA,” Kyerematen said.

“There is a national steering committee that is co-ordinating and guiding the support that will be given to private companies and other stakeholders.”

Supportive policy

The minister also announced that a national AfCFTA co-ordinating office has been established to plan the continental bloc’s activities in Ghana.

In addition, he said, seven technical working groups have been established to examine details required to make sure that the policy is supportive and provides assistance for the benefit of private companies in Ghana.

Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, addresses the closing ceremony of the two-day National Conference on the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Accra

Speaking at the closing ceremony for the two-day National Conference on the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Accra – under the theme “Empowering Ghanaian Businesses to Harness the Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Under the Framework of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS)” – the minister said that increasing intra-African trade will lead to rapid growth in the exchange of agricultural, industrial, financial, scientific and technological products

This will enhance Ghana’s economic fortunes significantly, create profit for Ghanaian businesses and provide employment opportunities for the youth, he said.

The president of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Yaw Adu Gyamfi, expressed the readiness of businesses in the AGI to use the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

In a brief statement at the closing ceremony, he described the siting of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana as a huge opportunity for Ghanaian companies to leverage on the production of goods and services for export. He encouraged industries to strategise smartly and invest in building their export capacity.

The chief executive officer of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Nana Osei Bonsu, called on manufacturers to be more innovative and to concentrate on adding value to Ghana’s raw material base in order to generate more foreign exchange. He urged the private sector to work in close collaboration with the government to identify trading opportunities.

In his remarks, the secretary general of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Anthony Yaw Baah, praised the government for winning the right to host the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana. He however encouraged collaboration between leading stakeholders to ensure that Ghana benefits fully from the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA makes Africa the largest free trade area in the world, with a combined population of nearly 1.3 billion people and a total gross domestic product of more than US$3.4 trillion. It aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business, people and investment promoting intra-continental trade.

Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio

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