AGI urged to develop AfCFTA blueprint

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Sean Duggan (2nd left), Investment Promotion Expert explaining a point. With him are Mr Michael Kottoh (right), Managing Partner, Konfidants, Ms Fatima Alimohamed (2nd right), Chairperson, AGI Agribusiness Sector

A Managing Partner of Konfidants, Mr Michael Kottoh, has challenged the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) to developed a blueprint on revamping the operations of businesses to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities offered under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that took off in January this year.

He said the document should be separate from that of the government and should form part of an initiative to ensure that businesses benefit from the gains of the Africa single market.

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Speaking at a session at the fourth Ghana Industrial Summit & Exhibition (GISE) in Accra, on August 18, Mr Kottoh stated that businesses associations needed to partner with the government to ensure that the country maximises the benefit of the initiative.

The event

The three-day event, an initiative of AGI focused on industry and the continental free trade market under the theme “Repositioning Ghanaian Industries to leverage the AfCFTA.”

The hybrid event created an avenue for the Ghanaian private sector to dialogue with policy makers, investors and other industry players.

It also created an opportunity for businesses to network and to showcase their products and services to prospective clients and investors.

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Report findings

Sharing findings of a report on Ghana’s Competitive Potential in the AfCFTA, Mr Kottoh stated that Ghana's intra-Africa exports value ranking (out of 54 countries) in the seven products studied is generally impressive.

He said the country ranks in the top ten African countries in four products (plastics, mineral oils, pharmaceuticals, manufactures of metals); ranks in the top fifteen countries in two products (agro-processed goods, and cosmetics) and places in the top twenty countries in one product (textiles).

He said the analysis showed that Ghana has a weak comparative advantage in most of the seven products.

“On the pure basis of productivity differential between Ghana and its trading competitors, Ghana has Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) in only two of the seven product groups analyzed (plastics and mineral oils) – despite ranking in the top ten in four products,” he said.

The pandemic

The Chairperson of the AGI Agribusiness Sector, Ms Fatima Alimohamed, said “with the unplanned interaction and disruption brought by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have made us realised that the advancement of Africa is to shift from the traditional way of doing things.

“The pandemic has taught us that there is an urgent need for localisation.”

She said there was a need for a deliberate plan to intensify education on AfCFTA.

This is because the initiative is potentially a game changer for the country’s post COVID-19 economic recovery and transformation.

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Agro-Processing Sector

The session was also climaxed with the launch of the Ghana Agro-Processing Sector brand, an initiative to help promote Ghana as a location for agro-business and private equity investment in agro-business.

An Investment Promotion Expert, responsible for managing the Investment Promotion Component of the project, Mr Sean Duggan, stated that “The Ghana Agro-Processing Sector brand is based on wide ranging, research, data collection and stakeholder consultations.

“The objective has been to establish a coherent identity for the Ghanian agro-processing sector and to use the brand to develop contemporary and persuasive promotional material for use with investors.”