All is set for a virtual forum meant to equip Ghanaian businesses with the know-how to be able to explore opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
On the theme “AfCFTA: Adopting the Right Business Strategies to fully benefit,” the forum, slated for February 24, seeks to provide businesses with the needed impetus to also profit from Africa’s over 1.2 billion consumers under the agreement.
An initiative of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), it seeks to host key personalities such as Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, President of the chamber, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, National Trade Negotiator at the Ministry of Trade, Mr Fechin Akoto, an officer from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Speaking to the Daily Graphic ahead of the forum yesterday in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the chamber, Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, observed that Ghanaian businesses needed to be adequately prepared in order to harness the market opportunities the new initiative presents.
The AfCFTA became operational on January 1, 2020 and it is expected to create the world’s largest free trade zone with over 1.2 billion consumers, a potential $3 trillion economy and zero tariffs on goods traded across countries.
“Implementation of AfCFTA has begun, and therefore, businesses must prepare, they must now begin to see the whole Africa as their market.
“Consequently, the chamber as a leading business association has started preparing companies that are into the export business to take advantage of the huge market,” he said.
Spirit of trade
For AfCFTA to be a success, the CEO stated that stakeholders in the private sector needed to be involved because they formed the spirit of trade in every part of the world.
“Over the years, we have been discussing generally about AfCFTA and its advantages but the technicalities of the protocol have not been demystified for businesses to understand, and so the virtual forum creates a platform that will address most the challenges.
“The forum is to ensure that the business community in Ghana understands the AfCFTA initiative and its protocols, market access and products with competitiveness so that businesses can really take advantage,” he said.
As a result, he said there was still work to be done to educate the private sector on both the opportunities and threats that this agreement would come with and work to develop a competitive AfCFTA strategy.
With the forum, Mr Badu-Aboagye stated that the chamber had assembled key industry persons to help more businesses to understand and participate in the export of products into other signatory countries.
He said businesses that would show keen interest would be aided by the chamber with the right impetus to export under the AfCFTA.
The CEO indicated that the forum sought to be a periodic event that would continue to train and prepare more businesses to explore the over 1.2 billion market under the agreement.
“The forum is targeting all businesses in the country that wish to expand their market,” he added.