Minister for Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will enhance competitiveness and better allocation of resources with Africa.
President Akufo-Addo today August 17, 2020, inaugurate and handed over the secretariat for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to the African Union Commission.
Alan Kyerematen speaking at the ceremony held in Accra sais this will be beneficial in many ways and it will expand trade in Africa.
“Regrettably Africa still remains the least integrated region in the World. Less than 15% of Africa’s total trade occurs within the region. The paradox of Africa being the richest continent and yet the poorest could be partly attributed to this unfortunate situation. The successful implementation of the AfCFTA will bring many benefits to our continent. First, it will increase the level of Intra Africa trade with the harmonization and coordination of trade within the continent. It is estimated that Intra African trade will increase by 52% by 2022.”
Ghana won the bid in July 2019 to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA; and as part of the obligations and commitments in the Host Country Agreement, the country is required to provide a fully-furnished office complex as the secretariat headquarters and an official residence for the Secretary-General.
This also makes the country responsible for overseeing implementation of the agreement. The country has committed to donating US$10million for operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Ghana was among the first group of countries to ratify the agreement on 10 May 2018, following the 21 March 2018 signing of the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, by 44 AU member-states The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after ratification by the required 22 AU member-states.
The AfCFTA provides an opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people in a US$2.5trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. The AfCFTA’s main objectives are to create a continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent.
The AfCFTA is further expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level – through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access, and better reallocation of resources.
It is envisioned that the country’s decision to host the secretariat for the trade pact will lead to promoting Ghana as an investment hub in the sub-region, and further provide job opportunities for the country.