Takes practical steps to ensure quick-wins
By OUR CORRESPONDENT
Since returning from the Niamey Summit of the African Union, AU, where it bagged the hosting right for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the West African nation of Ghana is not sparing any hassle to ensure that it gets as much advantage as it can out of the multilateral treaty.
AfCFTA, a flagship project of the African Union (AU), is an agreement of African countries to create a single market for the African Continent.
Estimated to cover a total population area of 1.2 billion and with an accompanying potential Gross Domestic Product of $3 trillion, as many as 54 of the continent’s 55 nations have already signed the agreement with another half of the number also taken the additional step of ratifying it.
To ensure seamless implementation of the first phase of the treaty, the heads of governments from across the continent endorsed a Programme of Action to Boost Intra-African Trade (BIAT).
“The BIAT looks at some cluster priority areas, and it is instructive to note that Ghana is already in all those areas towards harnessing the benefits from the free trade area.”
The identified clusters are Productive Capacity (Industrialisation), Trade Facilitation, Trade-related and Infrastructure, Trade Finance, Trade Information, Trade Policy and Market Integration.
Given a scorecard on its post-Niamey assessment of where Ghana is on these categories, a recent statement from the government said under the Industrial Productive Capacity Ghana, among others, was implementing the One District, One Factory Initiative and the establishment of anchor industries such as automobile, iron and steel, and on Trade Infrastructure the country was working on Port Expansion and construction of roads and railways.
It said in the areas of Access to Finance, there was ongoing roll-out of a Stimulus Package for Local Industries and on Trade Information the country had already established the Ghana Commodity Exchange and the Electronic Trade Information system for the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, while on the Trade Policy Ghana has in place a National Trade Policy.
The statement said Ghana was also hosting the Secretariat of the AfCFTA in a bid for the country to become the new commercial capital of Africa.
“The AfCFTA will enhance government’s current Industrial Development Agenda and contribute to the diversification of the Ghanaian economy and open up new market access opportunities under preferential terms for Ghanaian producers particularly Small and Medium-scale Industries,” it said.
The statement asserted that AfCFTA, among others, seeks to increase intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade within the African continent, address the challenge of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single continental market which will lead to economies of scale.
It said the AfCFTA was also to develop regional value chains and facilitate cross border movements, enhance access to an expanded market for SMEs in Africa on preferential trade terms, facilitate the integration of African economies into global markets, enhance the benefits to consumers in Africa through lower prices of goods imported from within Africa and significantly enhance employment opportunities in Africa particularly for the youth.
President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana