President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has formally launched a Business Forum to commemorate the official start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 in Accra.The Business Forum, which was organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the GRA, was attended by dignitaries including Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Senior Government Officials and Captains of Industry including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Senior Minister, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority and Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the AfCFTA is a pivotal step for job creation, industrialization and sustainable development for the youth of Ghana, adding that the Government would ensure that Ghanaian businesses derive maximum benefits from the AfCFTA agreement.
“Government is committed to ensuring adequate financial and human resources are mobilized to make Ghana the new commercial center for trade financing and investment on the continent. A duty that should be fulfilled as host country of the AfCFTA Secretariat,” he added.
He said that a single African market would increase intra-Africa trade by as much as 35 billion dollars per annum, by harnessing the purchasing power of the continent’s 1.2 billion people.
He stated that the agreement would unlock and transform the huge resource endowment of the continent through value addition, increase export revenue earnings in Africa and promote regional value chain, as well as create massive job opportunities for the continent’s teeming youth.
The Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene said locating the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana is not only a symbol of confidence in the country but also a signal that Ghana is the commercial and trade center of Africa.
He revealed that the African Union Commission had accepted the proposal to transfer all functions related to AfCFTA from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Accra, Ghana.
“This decision by the assembly of heads of states positions Ghana as the gateway to trade and investment in Africa. It gives practical meaning to Ghana’s longstanding ideals of Pan-Africanism,” he asserted.
The Minister of Trade and industry Alan Kyeremanteng cautioned against complacency especially when other continental agreements initiated in the past have varied degrees of success due to implementation challenges.
“While we deserve to pat ourselves on the back for coming this far, I will propose that we celebrate in moderation. Because this is not the first time that our union is embarking on such a major continental initiative,” he urged.
He said there is the need to focus on how micro, and small enterprises can be empowered to take full advantage of the AfCFTA.