The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has announced a trade facilitation support programme for Ghanaian exporters seeking to explore market opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
According to deputy sector minister, Herbert Krapah, the intervention is a market expansion programme which constitutes an integral part of government’s action plan towards boosting Ghana’s participation in intra-African trade.
Addressing a media capacity building in Aburi, he disclosed that an initial batch of 180 companies that have been selected to benefit from the programme this year are currently undergoing an enterprise assessment to ascertain their specific needs and facilitation support.
“If properly implemented, this support programme would accelerate the readiness and participation of Ghanaian businesses under the AfCFTA.
Touted as the new dawn of Africa’s integration, Africa’s free trade area holds the potential to advance equitable development for all of Africa’s people,” he said.
Mr. Krapah intimated that the intervention is a structured package for enhancing the trade competitiveness of Ghanaian producers and exporters in the single continental market.
He described the AfCFTA as Africa’s most ambitious integration initiative—and the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation—that will address the challenge of fragmented markets across the continent.
“The single market will help improve value addition to Africa’s abundant natural resources, provide a boost in intra – Africa trade and ultimately, promote economic diversification and industrialisation.
That means, more jobs for Africa’s very young population, knowledge and skills transfer to the continent, and all put together, an improvement in a sustaining way, of the standard of living of our people,” he added.
Mr. Krapah tasked the media to play their critical role in enhancing public awareness about the opportunities of the single continental market.
The one-day training was jointly facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Ministry of Information (MoI) under its recently launched media capacity enhancement programme to empower journalists to report accurately and adequately on AfCFTA activities.
UNDP’s Resident Representative, Ghana, Angela Lusigi, in her remarks, highlighted the seemingly low awareness on the AfCFTA in the country, with one in four agribusiness firms knows about the agreement, according its business tracker survey.
She encouraged the media ensure that the business community is well-informed the business opportunities that exist in the AfCFTA and also facilitate their access to knowledge about regulatory tools, instruments, and financing to harness these opportunities.
“The media partners are an important bridge between policymakers and the public on one hand, and the national and regional institutions driving AfCFTA implementation.
You are the gateway to enabling businesses, and the public to better understand and leverage the benefits that the AfCFTA offers whilst advocating for and influencing the policies and additional investments required to make the AfCFTA work for all,” she indicated.
About 54 AU member states have signed the AfCFTA agreement but 42 of them have ratified same, whilst 40 have deposited their instruments of ratification with the AU Commission.
Regarding schedules of tariffs concessions, 44 member states have submitted tariff offers for trading under trade in goods; and 34 state and non-state parties have submitted their initial schedule of specific commitments under the protocol on trade in services to the AfCFTA Secretariat.