Accra, Dec 22,GNA- The Ghana International Trade and Finance conference (GITFiC), has stated that most African countries are yet to fully develop a comprehensive National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy which was quite disturbing.
It said although countries may have existing trade policies and developed guidelines, it was not enough to maximize the full benefits of the AfCFTA.
An evaluation research conducted by GITFIC, signed by Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer of GITFIC and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday said the Rules of Origin (RoO) and its Certificate of Origin were crucial components to facilitate trading under the AfCFTA.
It believed that the AfCFTA could only achieve its goals if commitment was extended to the various components of the operations of the trading system and applauded the African negotiation parties for sustaining the level of commitment.
The GITFiC, is an institution championing the evolution of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and has been carefully monitoring and observing the operationalization of the AfCFTA.
It said In December 2018, the first AfCFTA Intra-African Trade Fair was held in Cairo, Egypt.
“Business deals between private investors and business players were around US$32 billion which exceeded expectations.
“In 2021, two Ghanaian companies, Kasapreko Company Ltd and Ghandour Cosmetics, under an AfCFTA Certificate of Origin, transported alcohol and cosmetic products to South Africa and Guinea respectively.
“Taking into consideration Cameroon’s draft strategy plan, The GITFiC motivates African Trade Ministers to intensify their efforts in reaching a great feat in the AfCFTA.”
The research statement said during one of GITFiC’s annual conferences, Accra was declared as the Commercial Capital of Africa, a decision that would position Ghana as a commercial hub in the sub-region.
It said GITFiC would undertake a sensitization exercise in Greater Accra Region, Greater Kumasi of the Ashanti Region, Takoradi of the Western Region, Tamale of the Northern Region, and Koforidua of the Eastern Region of Ghana to assess the private sector’s readiness for the AfCFTA’s implementation, and help develop a structural plan to address challenges identified in 2022.
It said a recent publication by the Bank of Ghana, the lending rates were as high as 24.8 per cent and believed that the Government of Ghana should critically investigate the asymmetric bank lending rate adjustment to enhance the competitiveness of the Ghanaian industry, as it launched into the African market.
The statement said GITFiC realized that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), a component of the AfCFTA, was overlooked by trade watchers and analysts and AfCFTA Online Mechanism for monitoring, reporting and elimination of NTBs had been underutilized and recommended that the State Parties be given the necessary technical support to establish the National Monitoring Committees and National Focal Points on NTBs.
In 2018, African Heads of State adopted the Protocol Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence, and Right of Establishment to enable Africans to freely move and work within Africa.
The Protocol is expected to serve in the interests of the African workers, entrepreneurs, and the large informal sector after 30 days, following the receipt of the 15th instrument of ratification.
However, only four countries on the continent have deposited their instruments of ratification at the AU depositary. Ghana is yet to ratify this Protocol.
According to GITFiC, Keeping focused and maintaining the momentum could see the implementation of AfCFTA become one of Africa’s main weapons in combating COVID-19 and accelerating post-COVID recovery and urged the AU and African Governments to take bold decisions to keep the AfCFTA on track despite COVID19.
The statement said the GITFiC had also supported the African group at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the urgent need to grant a waiver to African countries to produce their COVID vaccines, a decision they made, believing in the collective strength of the Africans.
“Taking into consideration the success of the AfCFTA, GITFiC recommended that Government and policymakers must listen to and comprehend the subject of AfCFTA in the same way that businesses and stakeholders do and ECOWAS or other bilateral protocols should facilitate road and rail connections to neighboring countries to boost regional trade and mutual economic benefits’
The statement said GITFiC recommended articulating policy reforms to address supply-side constraint and emphasized the importance of reviving National Development Banks to increase the scale of patient capital and drive export diversification.
The GITFiC encouraged the Continent’s Customs Union to speed up with the adaptation and implementation of the various list of items and its respective Harmonized Code System to pave way for a full recognition and acceptability for the successful movement of goods from one country to the other within the AfCFTA.