Graphic Business, in partnership with Stanbic Bank Ghana, will on Tuesday, March 30, hold their first breakfast meeting for the year to discuss among other things, how businesses in the country can fully leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
On the theme: “Leveraging AfCFTA. The critical success factors,” the high-profile event will bring together captains of industry, members of the business community, investors and policy makers to discuss and appreciate the crucial success indicators of what has been described as the biggest free trade area in the world.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has been penciled to be the keynote speaker for the meeting. The panel members will be the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, and the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene.
Ghana’s readiness for AfCFTA
The meeting is to provide the platform for participants to devise ways to operationalise the AfCFTA and to position themselves to leverage the opportunities.
AfCFTA has a vision to establish a single market for goods and services across 54 countries; allow for the free movement of business travellers and investments and create a continental customs union to streamline trade long-term investment.
During a visit to Ghana last year, the acting Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva, Ms Dorothy Ng’ambi Tembo, urged Africans to embrace the opportunity and take full advantage of what it holds for them.
She stated: “Africa cannot wait for a time when it is ready. What is important is that we have that commitment to move forward while taking a step-by-step approach which will progressively takes us to that direction that we want to go. We should look at how we can add value to our processes internally to ensure that we get to a position where we can reduce our reliance on commodities which prices continue to be volatile and unpredictable, and have for so many years not created the employment we desire to see.”
The World Bank is projecting that the AfCFTA agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating in it.
The pact connects about 1.2 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion.
It has the potential to lift 100 million out of poverty, 30 million people from extreme poverty, and 70 million people from moderate poverty. But achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
Commenting on the projections by the World Bank at a forum on March 1, in Accra, the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr Mene said creating a continent-wide market would require a determined effort to maximise its gains.