Government is set to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation Plan next month, aimed at positioning Ghana to maximise the benefits of the continental market, Anthony Nyame Baafi, a Special Advisor on AfCFTA to the Minister of Trade, has said.
Following the start of trading under the AfCFTA in January 2021, government has established operational committees to fast-track and streamline processes aimed at preparing Ghanaian producers to be competitive exporters to the regional market.
According to Mr. Baafi, who was speaking at a virtual event by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce on the theme “Policy Landscape Session”, 100 companies have been identified for support to export to Africa.
He added that government intends to facilitate trade by reducing the number of checkpoints on the country’s roads and expanding infrastructure. Government will also collaborate with ECOWAS member states to improve the regional value chain, he said.
The AfCFTA has been gathering momentum since trading began this year. With a market of 1.2bn people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion, the AfCFTA is projected to lead to a new era of development on the continent. It is also a stepping stone to an African Economic Community and Customs Union, as envisioned two decades ago under the 1991 Abuja Treaty.
Already, the European Union (EU) has pledged €74m to support small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) under the AfCFTA.
Ghana plays host to the AfCFTA secretariat, which is expected to facilitate the efficient conduct of business of the AfCFTA. It will develop the working programme and the annual budget and implement the decisions of the Ministers and Heads of State and Government.
The AfCFTA has been designed as a multi-stage process, meaning that the agreement will continue to evolve over time, and more negotiations are planned. The first phase, covering goods and services trade, took effect this year, though talks to finalise tariff schedules and the rules of origin provisions remain ongoing.
Ghana plays host to the AfCFTA secretariat, which is expected to facilitate the efficient conduct of business of the AfCFTA