The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is expected to boost Ghana’s export trade earnings exponentially when it comes into full force.
According to government sources, the initiative which will resolve the problem of overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration process, will boost Ghana’s exports through intra-African trade.
This was made known at the National Conference on the Implementation of the AfCFTA agreement in Ghana on Monday.
The ongoing National Conference which is under the theme: Harnessing the Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a Ghana Beyond Aid, is to bring together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the proramme.
The three-day programme which is being organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is being held at the Accra International Conference Center from Monday, August 19 to Wednesday, 21 August.
The main objective of the AfCTA is to create a single market to boost services and investments, facilitated by free movement of people to promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development, gender equality and structural transformation of member states.
The AfCTA is bringing together 55 African countries with a combined population of about 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of more than 2.5 trillion Dollars.
It is also expected to lower the high average export tariff of 6.9 percent for Africa significantly as average tariffs for export within Europe is 2.5%; North America, 4.7%; and West Asia is 1.7%.
Ghana has won the bid to host the Secretariat of the continental body which is expected to consolidate the African market to make it easier for its businesses to reach a greater economies of scale, promote the development of regional value chains and lowering the cross border costs for trade enterprises, businesses and consumers.
Contributing to a panel discussion on the Economic Benefits of AfCFTA to Ghana at the National Conference, the Minister for Planning, Prof. Gyan Baffour indicated that Ghana’s export markets stand to benefit since the AfCFTA will eliminate the tariffs of about 90% on currently tasked intra-regional trade roads and increase intra-regional trade by 16%.
“It is expected to curtail non-tariff barriers, including excessive documentations and customs delay. It means that Ghana’s exports and imports can move freely to other parts of the continent, even beyond the ECOWAS region.” He said.
According to the UNECA study undertaken in 2014, the AfCFTA will significantly boost intra-African trade from 12 percent to 62 percent by 2022.
Consequently, imports from outside the continent could decrease by 10 billion Dollars per year. Whereas agriculture and industrial exports could decrease by 7% and 5% which are equivalent to about 4 billion Dollars, and 21 billion Dollars respectively.
Source: Clement Akoloh//corporateguardianonline.com