The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is potentially a game changer for the country’s post COVID-19 economic recovery and transformation, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has said.
“Without doubt, AfCFTA could be considered as the game changer for the post COVID-19 economic recovery and transformation of Ghana, if we as a country can harness the numerous benefits of the agreement,” the minister said.
To harness the benefits of AfCFTA, he said the government complemented the ongoing industrial transformation agenda by launching the National Export Development Strategy in 2020 to increase non-traditional export revenue to $25.3 billion by 2027.
Mr Kyerematen was speaking at the inauguration of 36 council members of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), in a speech read on his behalf by the Technical Advisor to the Minister, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, on Wednesday, April 28 in Accra.
The council members are expected to provide the needed support and guidance through their technical expertise and wealth of social capital to promote activities of the chamber.
Private sector’s role
The minister called on the private sector to spearhead the economic transformation of the country by taking full advantage of the African single continental market.
He said the initiative would boost Ghanaian exports, stimulate investments and innovation, foster structural transformation, improve food security, enhance economic growth, and export diversification, and provide fresh impetus and dynamism to the economic integration of Ghana into the African market.
“There are many benefits that Ghana will derive from effective implementation of the AfCFTA, including better harmonisation and coordination of trade between Ghana and other African countries,” he added.
He said the government had developed a National AfCFTA Policy Framework and an Implementation Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT).
The minister said the objectives of the policy framework were to consolidate and grow existing markets on the continent and to identify new markets for Ghanaian goods and services on the continent.
The President of GNCCI, Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, observed that the chamber had played a critical role in the growth and development of the private sector in Ghana since the colonial era.
He said successive governments had also worked with the chamber in promoting and protecting commercial and industrial interests in the country while addressing private sector concerns.
That, he said, had positioned the chamber as the foremost private sector business association with relevance across the globe.
The president said the chamber would continue to empower the business community through its cutting-edge programmes and activities aimed at equipping the private sector to develop the needed shock absorbers and tenacity in the midst of the ravaging pandemic.
“As a chamber, we are also excited that the journey to opening up new market access opportunities to drive the needed economic growth and transformation of the African continent has begun, and the overwhelming interest and support by the private sector.
“The GNCCI also takes exceptional notice of the government’s clarion call for the private sector to take advantage of the AfCFTA agreement towards expanding production, both in industry and agriculture, while taking the lead in the socio-economic transformation of the country,” he added.