The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng has told traders in Ghana, to take advantage of the African Free Continental Free Trade Area.
“This is one of the best things to happen to the continent of Africa and we are excited and keen to have it. To think about a creation of a market the size of 1.2 billion in terms of population and 2.5 trillion in terms of its value, then we have to be excited and brace ourselves up for it.”
The President of GUTA who described the AFCFTA as one of the best things to ever happen to Africa on an Eye on Port panel discussion live on national television, urged Ghanaian traders to begin to strategize towards creating a strong supply chain for the rest of Africa.
“In the supply chain, we do not only want to position ourselves at the receiving end only. If we are talking about 1.2 billion people, we should think about how we can strategize to supply to this chunk. We have to establish brands, because now we are looking within Africa to provide alternative goods,” he said.
The President of GUTA described the no duty element in trade within the African space of the AFCFTA as the most pleasant to traders, as they have persistently cried about the burden of duty charges.
“There’s not going to be a barrier of duties; something we have been crying about. If we are able to get the same goods here without paying duties, for the same price as that which otherwise we have been paying huge duties for, then of course everybody would be excited,” he praised.
He however said there would be the need for an integration of systems of each sub region within the African Continent if the free trade area would be a success.
“This would depend on the lessons learnt on the various economic blocks. The South African, the Eastern, the Western all had their challenges. So if we are able to learn and make objective decisions on how to create integral framework, I think it would be a success,” he expressed.
He advised that a harmonization of standards among member countries is needed as well as the elimination of bureaucracies that may stifle easy flow of trade, in order to see the full effect of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Dr. Joseph Obeng urged Ghana's government to focus on the development of the production of goods that have high yielding potential for the country, because that would attract business with other countries, more effectively.
“We should know as a country where we have our competitive advantage, like cocoa. With the coming of the AfCFTA, let us dwell on the areas like this to invest in,” he entreated.
He bemoaned of the unavailability of a clear cut law within the protocol, that curbed the problem of migration as opposed to trade, which according to him, has been a challenge Ghanaian traders are facing and asked for its immediate addressing.
“We should be clear. If we are looking for a commonwealth, by trade, we should do that, but if we are looking to fuse everybody as a whole like the United States, then we should be clear on that,” he lamented.