Ghana yesterday launched the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Hub, to facilitate digital trading and electronic commerce.
It would also enhance marketplace transactions to accelerate the implementation of AfCFTA and maximise the corresponding benefits.
The hub also seeks to digitise collaboration among key national and regional actors and provides an AfCFTA Number, a unique code for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) startups and other economic actors that would engage in trading under the AfCFTA.
At a forum to launch it yesterday in Accra, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, said, with the AfCFTA Number, Ghanaian enterprises would be able to obtain a secure navigational tool as well as a trusted profile to speed connections across the continent for business.
She noted that, together with the AfCFTA Common Transaction ID, the AfCFTA Number would also serve critical anti-fraud and crime-fighting purposes domestically and regionally.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful added that the AfCFTA Hub would make it easier for technology startups and other producers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goods and services to find markets across Africa.
She noted that Ghana’s business process outsourcing landscape would be revitalised by AfCFTA “as the country becomes a hub for call centre, data processing, data science and various outsourcing services for businesses all over the continent and beyond.”
According to Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, the use of digital technology would bolster the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy to enable economic actors in various sectors to expand their markets through AfCFTA.
“With the AfCFTA Number widely adopted and regulatory certification taking place on a unified platform, the process of validating the background of any commercial counterparty should become highly automated, quick, and hassle-free.
“So also should the ability of the different digital marketplaces, platforms, networks and e-commerce systems to collaborate and deliver even higher value for all Ghanaians and AfCFTA member state citizens,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful added.
Citing benefits of the hub, Augustine Blay, Secretary to the Vice President, said, it would connect graduates to job opportunities through automation and technology.
He explained that the hub would serve as a multi-stakeholder platform necessary to accelerate AfCFTA implementation through harmonisation.
Additionally, Mr Blay said it would offer a multi network effects by helping to scale-up businesses and speed up market interconnectivity.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapah, reiterated the need for Ghana to take advantage of available digital tools and electronic platforms to deepen trade in goods and services across the continent.
“The AfCFTA Number and AfCFTA Common Transaction Identifier, together, constitute a bold, significant and decisive step to making AfCFTA work for our yam exporter, who by the click of a button, will know where the demand is for her goods, who can provide her logistics, freight and haulage support and still be protected from the pervasive cancer of online fraud, bringing AfCFTA home to her,” he stated.
Grace Khoza, Media Advisor to the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, commended the development of the hub, saying it would ensure ease of trading and open new markets for Africans especially women in trade.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS
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