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FULL TEXT: Akufo-Addo launches National AFCFTA policy framework

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo Nana Addo Akufo Addo President121211 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Tue, 2 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

President Akufo-Addo has launched the National AfCFTA policy framework and action plan as Ghana is the host of the AfCFTA secretariat.

Read his full speech below:

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL AfCFTA POLICY FRAMEWORK AND ACTION PLAN AT THE KEMPINSKI HOTEL GOLD COAST CITY, ACCRA ON TUESDAY, 2ND AUGUST 2022

•Hon. Ministers of State; •Representative of Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat; •Hon. Deputy Ministers; •Hon. Members of Parliament; •Members of the Diplomatic Corps; •Chief Executives and Heads of Departments, Agencies and allied Institutions; •Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Private Sector Companies; •Presidents and Chief Executives of Business Associations; •Distinguished Guests; •Ladies and Gentlemen.

At the Extraordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State in the capital city of Rwanda in March 2018, President Akufo Addo joined 54 of his colleague Heads of State, to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. That historic event signaled to the global community, particularly the private sector operators in Africa, that the continent was ready to usher in a new age of economic integration anchored on improving intra-African trade through the removal of barriers to cross-border trade and dismantling of tariffs.

Following that historic event in Kigali, Rwanda, the African Union Commission working in close collaboration with the AU Council of Ministers of Trade has achieved significant milestones in operationalizing the AfCFTA Agreement, which include the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger in July 2019; the establishment of the AfCFTA Secretariat with Accra as the Host Capital in August 2020; and the launch of Start of Trading under the AfCFTA in January 2021.

In addition to the above, 43 Member States have currently ratified the AfCFTA Agreement and deposited their Instruments of Ratification with the AfCFTA Secretariat, whilst Provisional Schedules of Tariff Concessions of 29 countries have been verified and accepted for trade in goods. This trajectory of events should inform the Member States of the readiness of Africa to harness the full benefits of economic integration.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. The President is happy to participate in the launch of the National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan for boosting Ghana’s trade with Africa. This launch clearly indicates that Government is continuously positioning the private sector operators in Ghana to trade under the AfCFTA Agreement.

The National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan is geared towards the harmonization of relevant policies, programmes, laws, and regulations to boost the productive capacities of the private sector in Ghana particularly the MSMEs to harness the full benefits of AfCFTA. A successful implementation of the Action Plan will boost the capacities of the Ghanaian private sector to take advantage of market access opportunities in Africa to promote ‘Made in Ghana’ goods and services.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has led the establishment of the relevant structures for the implementation of the various AfCFTA protocols in Ghana. This includes the establishment of the National AfCFTA Coordinating Office with the responsibility to coordinate the implementation of Ghana’s AfCFTA strategy.

Hon. Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is significant to note that our National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan was derived from the work of the national structures put in place by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to advance our national interest in the continental AfCFTA project. They include the AfCFTA Inter-Ministerial Committee, National Steering Committee on AfCFTA, and the Technical Working Groups on Boosting Trade with Africa.

Hon. Minister for Trade and Industry, the President has asked me to commend the extensive technical work undertaken by these Committees especially the seven Technical Working Groups, comprising Representatives from the private sector, Senior Government Officials, and other Technical Experts.

Excellencies, Hon. Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, As you are aware, African countries cannot overcome the current economic challenges occasioned by the incidence of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war if we do not develop measures to improve the productive capacities of the private sector and increase intra-African trade.

The effective operationalization of the AfCFTA Agreement in Ghana would significantly boost Ghana’s balance of trade, stimulate investment and innovation, diversify exports, improve food security, foster structural transformation, enhance economic growth, and above all, provide jobs for the youth.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Coordinating office of the AfCFTA, this framework, as brilliantly as it is structured will not mean much if you do not implement the programs under it with speed, effectiveness, and commitment. It is your successful implementation of the programs under this framework that matters and which will ensure that thousands of Ghanaian businesses can ride on its back and export significantly into the African continent. Thereby boosting local economic activity, our growth, jobs and earnings. So go at it and don't be held back by the hurdles that will come your way.

To the Ghanaian private sector, your Government is working through this and other initiatives to make it relatively easier for you to get access to this large market of over a billion people to enable you trade more goods and services out. Yours is to take advantage of it and collaborate with us to resolve any teething challenges that may come up. But no matter the nature of the challenges be resolved to work with us, hand in hand, to make this work. It is in our national interest to not take this window of opportunity lightly.

In conclusion, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me reiterate Mr. Presidents’ pledge to mobilize the required financial and technical resources to assist Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of the AfCFTA.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is the pleasure of His Excellency the President to declare the National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan for Boosting Ghana’s Trade with Africa duly launched.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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