Private sector to help implement continental free trade area

Business News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Source: Maclean Kwofi

2018-03-21

Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC)

The President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, has pledged the support of the private sector in Ghana to help implement the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“I can assure you that Africa’s business community fully supports the AfCFTA and will continue to champion this meaningful cause to benefit our economies and businesses,” Nana Dankawoso told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on Monday, in Accra ahead of the signing of the AfCFTA agreement at an Extraordinary Meeting of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government at the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The meeting, which has since ended, was attended by heads of state, government officials, private sector leaders, civil society organisations, the academia, parliamentarians and development partners to deliberate on the continent’s economic transformation through the AfCFTA.

Nana Dankawoso said the introduction of a free trade area on the continent would help eliminate or reduce tariffs and remove trade and non-tariff barriers.

That, he said, would bring about enhanced market opportunities, legal certainty and predictability for service suppliers to enter and operate in another party’s market.

According to him, the free trade area was to help boost trade and promote economic prosperity.

“The free trade area is to help open up new areas to competition and promote innovation. Again, it will create better jobs, new markets and increase investments with greater diversification and risk sharing. Once in place, it will support rule of law and construct shared trade, investment approaches and foster economic integration of the continent,” he stated.

Benefits of AfCFTA

A study conducted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has revealed that the AfCFTA will help increase intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.

It would also ensure greater trade flows among countries on the continent with the potential to boost economic growth, scale up industrialisation, build businesses and lift millions of citizens from poverty.

The AfCFTA will, in this respect, energise intra-regional trade for the prosperity of all and greater bargaining power for Africa on matters of global economic and commercial diplomacy.

Building capacities of businesses

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNCCI, Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, said the chamber would partner with relevant stakeholders to help implement the AfCFTA.

He noted that the GNCCI had already begun engaging with its members who were into export and import trade to build their capacities in order to take advantage of the continental free trade area.

“We do not want to create a situation where foreigners will rather benefit from the AfCFTA while people from the continent continue to languish in poverty, so we have started building the capacities of these businesses to take advantage of the free trade area,” he added.

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