The multidisciplinary seminar brought together experts from the legal practice, financial sector, customs, policymakers as well as representatives of the private sector to discuss how businesses can strategize to fully benefit from the Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The Minister Designate for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng, in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. John Asiedu, revealed that the government has established key national institutional structures to oversee the implementation of the trade agreement which include the AfCFTA inter-ministerial facilitation committee, the national steering committee and technical working groups in 7 clusters identified in boosting intra-African trade.
The Minister Designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, represented by Bonaventure Adjavor, Director in Charge of Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau at the Ministry, called for an effective response plan against COVID-19 in Intra-African trading.
The President of the GNCCI, Clement Osei Amoako, underpinned the significance of private sector participation for the success of the AfCFTA.
“The Private Sector’s interest, and support for the AfCFTA has been phenomenal. This is based on the premise that production and distribution of goods and services are largely undertaken by the private sector.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Benonita Bismarck, lauded the industry of the important role players are taking to sensitize traders to position them for success in the AfCFTA.
Anthony Nyame-Baafi, a technical advisor at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, outlined a myriad of benefits of the single continental market including the fact that it would boost economies of large-scale production.
“It will develop regional value chains and facilitate cross-border investments so that if it is properly implemented, we will be having a lot of made-in-African products,” he added.
An Assistant Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority Fechin Akoto emphasized the importance of the rules of origin in the trading protocols and encouraged trading public to make use of the information published on Customs digital platforms when making decisions on trading with other member states.
“Ghana has signed up to the agreement and has also ratified so it is a state party, same as South Africa, so we can do business with them under the AfCFTA. Those that have signed but haven’t ratified are deemed to be member states, so get the difference. When you’re dealing with them, you should know their status,” he educated.
David Ofosu-Dorte, partner at AB & David Law Firm, and executive of Afro-Champions Organisation, discussed various forms businesses in Ghana can align their strategies with that of the AfCFTA strategy, especially by formalizing their methods.
“It is very simple: It will require that processes are reinvented at the business level as well as the association level so that with this reinvention, we can take advantage of this new era and integrate into the wider African market,” he articulated.
Also contributing to the discourse, a Consultant on exports, revealed that there remain billions of dollars in demand of goods Ghana produces but are imported by the rest of Africa from the West and Far East.
He however urged businesses to take advantage of opportunities like the shuttle sea freighting now available in West Africa which addresses the transportation concerns of exporters.
Ernest Bediako Sarpong, CEO of Ernest Chemist, while lamenting some impediments to intra-continental trading called for harmonization of standards within the continent to make doing business easier. Read Full Story