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Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank meeting today

BY: Maclean Kwofi

The Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting, an initiative of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) and Stanbic Bank, is scheduled to take place at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel this morning.

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 Director, Trade In Services of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mrs Emily Mburu-Ndoria.

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.

Blueprint

At a virtual economic dialogue on the 2021 Budget Statement, Mr Kyerematen said the government had already developed a blueprint on revamping the operations of businesses to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement that took off in January this year.

H e said it formed part of the policies of the government to ensure that businesses benefited from the gains of the African single market.

According to him, the policies were also aimed at easing the cost of credit, ensuring constant supply of low-cost power to businesses and improving transportation infrastructure to allow for the easy movement of goods and people across the country.

He further mentioned the proposed establishment of a domestic credit rating agency, a national development bank (NDB), the ongoing improvement in power generation and supply, the continuous modernisation and expansion of road infrastructure and the Kumasi and the Tamale airports as some of the projects being pursued to revamp businesses.

Need for collaboration

At a forum  in Accra on March 1, Mr Mene had observed that there was the need for strong collaboration specifically between the AfCFTA Secretariat and the private sector to create an enabling environment that would help the agreement achieve its full potential.

He stated that the AfCFTA Secretariat would be ill-informed should it attempt to implement the agreement without the involvement of the private sector.

“It will not work for us if we implement the agreement without the involvement of the private sector; it will only remain as an agreement on our shelves, written in words without commercial meaning.

“We have a unique opportunity under the AfCFTA. We, therefore, need to significantly advance the objective of market integration, harmonisation of roads and consolidation of our 1.2 billion consumer market,” he said.

Well positioned

For his part, Dr Adu-Gyamfi insisted that companies in the country were well positioned to benefit from the AfCFTA.

He indicated that because of the investment and policy direction of the government, local industries were poised and well supported to meet international global standards.

Dr Adu-Gyamfi added that the working relations between companies and the export development companies would help boost their chances of accessing foreign markets and enhancing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

World Bank projection

The World Bank has projected 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 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.