Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has stressed the need for member countries of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to put their acts together to kick start trading in January 2021.
He said the industrial development of the 52 member countries which had signed onto the trading block, must not necessarily be completed before they could start trading under the continental framework.
Mr Akwaboah, who was speaking at the 21st annual general meeting of the Ashanti, Bono and Ahafo branches of the Association in Kumasi, pointed out that the whole essence of AfCFTA was to support the industrial development, transformation and trading.
What was important, he said was for every country to have its own strategies to be able to penetrate the markets.
The conference was held under the theme “building resilience and local capacity towards AfCFTA”.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave way for accelerating the establishment of the custom union.
Mr Akwaboah said the AGI’s readiness in trading under AfCFTA had propelled management to intensify education and sensitize its member companies on protocols, mechanisms, certificate of origin, rules of origin and engagement as well as other critical issues in trading on that platform.
Again, management was working closely with the Ministry of Trade to pick selected products that had the potential to thrive within the African continent, as well as defining the kind of interventions member companies could need to thrive.
The Ministry, according to Mr. Akwaboah, had also set up a technical working group, which was developing specific country strategy that would help facilitate the process for Ghanaian industries – to produce goods which were competitive and matched the AfCFTA standards.
He pointed out that fake products could be easily identified and banned from the markets, and advised member companies to always work with the Ghana Standards Authority for product certification.
Mrs. Afua Gyamfua Owusu-Akyaw, Ashanti Regional Chairperson, AGI, said the Association was committed to leading the advocacy for members for a friendly business environment especially, in the era of COVID-19.
She used the occasion to appeal to the government to speed up the processing of funds for members who were yet to access the stimulus package and the MASLOC loans.