Two Ghanaian companies have secured licences to export their products to any member country of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
They are Kasapreko Company Limited and Ghandour Cosmetics Limited.
Kasapreko successfully exported a 20-footer container of alcoholic beverages to South Africa by air, while Ghandour Cosmetics also shipped a 20-footer container of cosmetic products to Guinea by sea last month.
A Senior Technical Advisor at the (Ghana) National AfCFTA Coordination Office, Dr Fareed Arthur, who made this known to the Daily Graphic in Accra last Tuesday, explained that the office, which serves as the liaison between Ghana and the AfCFTA Secretariat, assisted the companies to meet the necessary protocols for the maiden shipment of their consignments.
“Two different consignments with the needed documentations and processes have already been exported to test Ghana’s readiness under the initiative. It was also used to assess the forms and format of documentations to accompany consignments,” he said.
To trade under the initiative, Dr Arthur explained, a company needed a certificate of origin issued by a competent authority, such as the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
He said the certificate of origin accompanied the consignment to help the authorities of the designated country determine whether or not the goods were from a member country under the agreement.
According to Dr Arthur, the issuance of the certificate was also to ensure that goods or products to be shipped met the necessary requirements under the protocol.
He said the maiden shipment was to test the process, for which reason the consignments were accompanied by a special letter from the Ministry of Trade to its counterparts in the designated countries.
“The Kasapreko and Ghandour consignments were shipped under a different regime for the first time; and the government wants it to be successful,” Dr Arthur added.
Ernest Chemists Limited and other firms in the country are in the process of registering to profit from Africa's over 1.2 billion consumers under the agreement.
Beyond that, Dr Arthur said, a number of companies had called at the coordination office to make enquiries on how they could also take advantage of the agreement.
He said interested indigenous businesses that wanted to export to African countries could register through an online portal: external.unipassghana.com.
“We are trying to put everything online as much as possible to enable interested businesses to register at their convenience,” Dr Arthur added.
He said Ghana had so far received a shipment from Egypt under AfCFTA, although not many details were given on the consignment.
“Information available to us indicate that most of the countries are not ready. Ghana was lucky to have started early because we have the secretariat in our country.
“Looking at the situation, we believe that most of the countries will be ready by March this year,” Dr Arthur said.
“After a country is done designing a tariff offer, it presents it to the AfCFTA Secretariat for approval. A member state must be able to indicate clearly the kind of goods or tariff it intends to accept,” he said,
Dr Arthur, however, said Ghana and some other ECOWAS member countries were tariff compliant even before the AfCFTA initiative took off on January 1, this year.