Seven African countries have started trading goods and services under the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA).
The countries are Ghana, Cameroun, Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania which are trading in products such as ceramics, palm oil, car batteries and coffee.
The National Coordinator (Ghana) at the AfCFTA Coordination Office, Dr Fareed Kwasi Arthur, made this known to the Daily Graphic at the launch of the 74th University of Ghana Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) in Accra yesterday.
The New Year School is the initiative of the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) of the University of Ghana (UG).
This year’s edition will be on the theme: “Positioning the African market for sustainable economic development through AfCFTA”.
The three-day event, which will begin from January 17 to 19 next year, will bring together experts and academia to discuss topical national issues.
Dr Arthur said the theme for this year’s event captured succinctly the options facing the country and other African nations in these challenging times.
He said the forum should, therefore, provide space for all stakeholders to take a critical look at the huge potential Africa offered instead of always looking to the West for solutions.
“Closer home is Ghana which is arguably one of the most endowed countries on earth. We have lush vegetation, are a leading producer of cocoa and one of the world’s largest reserves of gold and bauxite.”
“We have oil and several other resources of which when properly leveraged could transform and propel this country into a prosperous and peaceful nation,” Dr Arthur added.
The coordinator said in a period of global uncertainties and transition, AfCFTA provided a great transformational opportunity for Ghana and other participating countries.
He said AfCFTA sought to increase value added trade among African states and also boost the continent’s position in the global market by strengthening her common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.
The Provost of the College of Education, UG, Professor Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, said the challenges the country was undergoing was a global phenomenon.
He, however, bemoaned the rising cost of goods and services in the country, attributing it to exchange rate depreciation which was making imported items expensive.
“While this is a challenge, it presents an opportunity for the continent through AfCFTA to take advantage of the situation and do business together.
“It is in this light that I consider the theme for this year’s event timely,” Dr Codjoe added.
The Dean of the SCDE and Chairperson of the 74th ANYSC, Prof. Olivia Kwapong, also said that the event would feature a novel youth school, exhibitions, presentation of research works and panel discussions to be held on sub-themes on financial and educational sectors, business, industry and digital technology preparedness for AfCFTA.