The Director of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, has assured that the interest of the private sector will be key in the negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA) which is expected to create a single continental market for goods and services in Africa.
He said in each of the various technical groups the government would constitute to negotiate this agreement, there would be private sector representatives on board to brief the government about some of the challenges they encountered when exporting to other African countries.
Mr Nyame-Baafi made these remarks at a 3-day capacity-building retreat for members of the Inter-Institutional Committee (IIC) on the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in Koforidua. The engagement was intended as a sensitisation and information sharing exercise to allay the anxieties of stakeholders and achieve a national consensus, particularly on specific trade and related matters, so as to protect the collective national interest at the ongoing Continental CFTA expected to be concluded by December, 2017.
This Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE)-funded workshop was to explain to members of the committee the ongoing negotiations on CFTA, the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between Ghana and the European Union (EU).
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“The private sector will be the main implementers of this agreement because in reality they are the ones that will be moving our exports across the continent,” he said.
Benefits of CFTA
In June 2015, African leaders launched negotiations to create a CFTA. It aims at creating a comprehensive and mutually beneficial single continental market for goods and services; with free movement of business persons and investments, resolving the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expediting the regional and continental integration processes.
In light of this, the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, formed the Inter-Institutional Committee which comprises members from institutions such as the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Ministry of Finance and the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD), among others.
The committee, after the retreat, will recommend to the government, the plausible way forward in addressing lingering issues agitating the minds of the business community.