The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has given assurances that given the structures in place, Ghana is ready to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, the government has rolled out the necessary structures capable of facilitating the take-off in January next year.
“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 inter-ministerial facilitation team made up of critical sector ministers who are supposed to provide strategic guidance and support to make Ghana ready for the AfCFTA.
“There is national steering committee that is coordinating and guiding the support that will be given to the private companies and other stakeholders.”
He also said that a national AfCFTA coordinating office has already been established to coordinate the activities of the block in the country.
In addition, Mr Kyerematen said seven technical working groups have also been established to examine the details required to make sure that the policy is supportive and provides assistance to the benefit of private companies in the country.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of a two-day National Conference on the Implementation of the AfCFTA in Accra on 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 (NED)’, the Minister noted that the increasing intra-African trade would lead to a rapid increase in the exchange of agricultural, industrial, financial, scientific and technological products, which would significantly enhance Ghana’s economic fortunes, create profit for Ghanaian businesses and provide opportunities for employment for the youth.
The President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, expressed the readiness of the industries, under the association, in utilising the opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
He described the citing of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana as a huge opportunity for Ghanaian businesses to leverage so they could export goods and services.
He encouraged industries to strategise well 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 concentrate on adding value to the country’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.
The Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, lauded the government for negotiating this agreement.
He, however, encouraged collaboration between key stakeholders to ensure that Ghana benefits fully from the implementation of AfCFTA.
AfCFTA makes Africa the largest free trade area in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion.
It aims at creating a single, continental market for goods and services with free movement of businesspersons and investments, thus, promoting intra-continental trade.