Ghana determined to make most out of AfCFTA – President

Accra, Aug. 19, GNA – Ghana is determined to
make the most out of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement
and would leverage on the trade and investment opportunities that the pact
presents to accelerate the country’s development and prosperity, President Nana
Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

Addressing the opening of a three-day
National Conference on the Implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement in Accra, on
Monday, President Akufo-Addo said the coming into force and the successful implementation
of the AfCFTA “ties in perfectly with the vision of moving our country to a
situation beyond aid and a self-reliance.”

Last month, Ghana was chosen by the Assembly
of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) to host the Secretariat
of the AfCFTA. And the core mandate of the Secretariat will be to implement the
AfCFTA Agreement of which 54 of the 55 African nations have signed onto, and
has since been ratified by 25 AU member states.

The AfCFTA agreement makes Africa the
world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade
Organisation. The agreement will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a
combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across the fifty-four
(54) Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the Agreement.

The Accra conference has brought together
key stakeholders to discuss strategies and programme interventions required to
harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that
the vision was to move Ghana to a situation beyond aid, dependence, charity and
handouts, and that, his government’s determination to make intelligent and
disciplined use of the nation’s vast resources, could be belter realized when
the inherent benefits and opportunities in the AfCFTA Agreement was harnessed
holistically.

He said his government, over the past two
and half years, had prioritized the management of the macro-economic stability
of the Ghanaian economy to facilitate growth, with the key economic indicators
that were in disarray when it assumed the reigns of governance, now pointing in
the right direction.

“We’ve restored fiscal discipline and
managed the economy in a manner that guarantees pragmatism in mobilizing and
deploying our national resources. We have efficiently managed the economy to
continuously create a business-friendly atmosphere, essential to driving
investments, stimulating growth and creating employment.”

Secondly, government, the President said,
was committed to changing the structure of the Ghanaian economy by addressing
productivity capacity issues, taking the country away from the reliance on the
export of raw materials to that of adding value to the country’s natural
resources and aggressively promoting industrialization.

“That is why, initiatives such as the ‘One
District, One Factory’ flagship policy, strategic anchor industries, the
integrated bauxite and aluminum industry, the iron and steel industry, and the
vehicle assembly plants, the establishment of industrial parks, and the
programme for agricultural renewal- Planting for Food and Jobs-  as well as the deliberate steps being taken
to educate Ghanaian children, are being pursued vigorously to transform and
change the country, to enable it to derive maximum benefits from the AfCFTA
Agreement.”

Noting the need to put the requisite
infrastructure to derive further, benefits from the AfCFTA pact, Prsident
Akufo-Addo said Government was investing in trade related infrastructure in
order to facilitate trade, citing the ongoing expansion of the Ports of Tema
and Takoradi, as well as the expansion and rehabilitation of numerous roads and
railways as “testaments of governments resolve to leverage new market
opportunities on the continent.”

With Africa estimated to have the largest
youth population in the world by 2050, he said, the overarching measures to
harness the benefits of the AfCFTA are to “develop and expand our economy and
create sustainable jobs for our youth”, adding that, countries would have to find
sustainable ways of creating jobs rather than relying on the limited public
sector employment.

President Akufo-Addo urged the private
sector to take advantage of the agreements under the AfTCFTA to expand
production, both in industry and agriculture, and take the lead in the
socio-economic transformation of the country.

He pledged that government will assist the
process by fashioning and implementing a comprehensive set of policies that
will empower the private sector to achieve its goals, saying, “our whole
objective is to unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of the
Ghanaian private sector to drive rapid growth and job creation.”

Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and
Industry, said the AfCFTA was a major step towards the realisation of the dream
for a single market that will propel the economic emancipation of the
continent.

He was optimistic that the AfCFTA Agreement
would propel intra- African trade and expedite the rapid development of the
continent, but cautioned that the benefits of the single African market would
not materialize automatically, as it would require conscious interventions to
allow each country reap the full profits.

GNA

Loading...