President Akufo-Addo to open national conference on AfCFTA on Monday

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Aug. 18,
GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will on Monday, August 19, open a
three-day National Conference on the Implementation of the Africa Continental
Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement in Accra.

The conference
will bring together key stakeholders in Ghana and beyond, to discuss strategies
and interventions to harness the benefits of hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat and
the benefits the African Continent would derive from it.

It would be
held on the theme: “Harnessing the benefit of the African Continental Free Trade
Area for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” which will attract senior policy-makers,
parliamentarians, the Business Community, academia and representatives of civil
society organisations, as well as development partners and experts on trade
from Ghana and beyond.

Mr Kojo Oppong
Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, who announced this at a media briefing in
Accra on Sunday, said President Akufo-Addo would use the opportunity to
articulate Ghana’s vision for the AfCFTA towards achieving the “Ghana Beyond
Aid” agenda.

The Minister
outlined some key issues that would be discussed at the conference including;
Measures to Increase Intra-African Trade through a better Harmonisation  and Coordination of Trade within the African
Continent; Strategy to Address Fragmented Market in Africa by ensuring a Single
Continental Market which would lead to economies of scale and Add Value to
Africa’s abundant  Natural Resources  and Promote Economic Diversification  and Industrialisation; as well as Developing
Regional Value Chains and facilitating Cross Border Investment in Africa; and
attracting Foreign Direct Investment with Strong Regional and Local Content to
help address job and other economic constraints facing the African Continent.

The Assembly of
the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in July, this year,
selected Ghana to host the AfCFTA Secretariat at the 12
th AU Extraordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger.

The Secretariat
would implement the AfCFTA Agreement, which had been ratified by 25-member

The AfCFTA is
expected to increase Intra-African trade by US$35 billion  per annum or 55 per cent by 2022, while
imports outside Africa is expected to decrease by US$10 billion annually,
whereas agriculture and industrial exports would increase by four billion dollars
representing seven per cent and US$21 billion (five percent) above the baseline

urged all participating stakeholders to make meaningful contributions towards
ensuring a successful hosting of the AfCFTA and derive the necessary benefit
from it.

Mr Oppong
Nkrumah said Ghana would focus on adding value to its raw materials and cited
the agreement Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire have reached towards adding value to
their cocoa beans, in order for them to maximise profits.