AfCFTA is a call to action - Deputy Minister of Trade

Herbert Krapa Deputy Trade Herbert Krapa, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry

Wed, 11 May 2022 Source: GNA

Herbert Krapa, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, says the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will reduce the continent’s reliance on imports and increase trading within the region.

He noted that Intra-African trade currently stood at 16 per cent compared to 68 per cent for Europe and 59 per cent for Asia and said it was time the narrative changed with action.

Speaking at the opening of the 2022 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Africa Forum in Accra, Mr Krapa said Africa’s share of global trade was three per cent and called for effective steps to strengthen regional value chains.

The forum is on the theme, “Sustainable Implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement: The Role of Supply Chain, Logistics, Transport and Industry.”

The Minister said the challenge could be addressed by the trade pact through value addition to Africa's abundant natural resources, promotion of economic diversification and industrialisation. 

“The AfCFTA offers us an opportunity to develop intra-regional value chains that help us to go beyond only exploiting and exporting raw materials. From the smallest supplier to big manufacturers, we must develop linkages that enhance our ability and capacity to feed industry in a sustainable way,” he said.

He noted that AfCFTA would boost regional income by USD450 billion dollars, speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.

The Minister said a single market for goods and services across 54 African countries with a total of USD1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of USD3.4 trillion dollars would enhance the wellbeing and standards of living of the people.  

Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, in a statement delivered on his behalf, said the transport sector would play a key role in linking activities in both upstream and downstream within the Continent and beyond. 

“AfCFTA is expected to significantly increase traffic flow on all transport modes: Road, Rail, Maritime, and Air but such gains will only be optimized if the AfCFTA is accompanied by development of regional infrastructure projects,” he said. 

The Minister said the AfCFTA and Africa’s transport infrastructure programmes were intrinsically linked and should be implemented simultaneously. 

He called for the need to prioritise development programmes, including the Trans-African Highways, the Programme for Infrastructure Development and the Single African Air Transport Market at the same level with AfCFTA. 

Mr. Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, in a televised statement, said the transport and logistics were one of the priority areas for the trade pact together with pharmaceuticals, automotive, and agro- processing, adding that, AfCFTA and the transport sector were interdependent and mutually reinforcing. 

Source: GNA