Ghana now net receiver under AfCFTA

Ghana now net receiver under AfCFTA

Ghana is gradually becoming a net receiver of goods and services exported under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) nearly two years after piloting the guided trade initiative (GTI).


A market analysis conducted by the AfCFTA Coordination Office Ghana showed that the other seven countries participating under the GTI involving Cameroun, Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia have all targeted Ghana as their preferred market.

This is because Ghana as the host of the AfCFTA Secretariat has been positioned out there as prepared with the necessary custom regime to accept goods and services from other countries.

The development which is currently serving as a disadvantage to Ghana, however, followed the inability of Ghanaian businesses to participate by exporting to other jurisdictions in the continent using the continental free trade agreement to favourably match their peers.

To help reverse the trend, various institutions and stakeholders have started coming out with a number of initiatives that are aimed at inspiring exports to other African countries.

One of those is the German Development Agency’s (GIZ’s) national stakeholder forum on AfCFTA, digital trade, and E-commerce organised in Accra.

The forum forms part of ascertaining the digital orientation of Ghanaian micro, small and medium enterprises and E-commerce presence as part of the protocols on digital trade and E-commerce of the AfCFTA.

Some of the discussants were the National Coordinator of AfCFTA Coordination Office, Ghana, Dr Fareed Kwesi Arthur; President of Ghana Fintech and Payments Association, Kwame Martin Awegah; Greater Accra Regional Chairman of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness, Anthony Morrison and the Chief Executive Director of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr Kenneth Ashigbey.


Dr Arthur noted that AfCFTA was meant for businesses and so Ghanaian firms were expected to be aggressive enough to take advantage in order to grow and reach other jurisdictions.

“Without that businesses from other African countries are beginning to take advantage at the expense of Ghana.

“Seven out of the eight countries which started the guided trade initiative incidentally have started targeting Ghana as their preferred market. This is because they think that Ghana is more prepared with all amenities to receive goods from others,” he said.

He said the country now seems to be a net receiver of goods and services instead of a net exporter. The Coordinator stated that the agreement had created the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating for all the countries.

“In my perspective, I see AfCFTA as an initiative that would be executed not at forums; we will eventually need to get out there to trade because it is mostly about trade.

Physical Connectivity

For his part, Mr Awegah said the African continent was designed for the interest of the rest of the world in various ways. This, he said, was because its economies were often characterized by the lack of physical connectivity.

“Our financial systems are also not really developed and we are also saddled with trade and other non-trade barriers and it is the reason why businesses find it difficult trading much easier with the rest of the world than Africa.

He added that Africa had more than 40 different currencies, making it difficult to promote efficient trading.

Digital trade

Mr Akpeloo noted that the continental free trade area could only succeed through digitalisation and this was the reason why digital trade protocol was introduced under the AfCFTA.

He said the digital trade had been defined as digitally enabled transactions of trade in goods and services that could be either digitally or physically delivered.

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