The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is scheduled to be implemented on the continent in the middle of this year. One conversation that has gone on is how Ghana is prepared to take advantage of the AfCFTA to beef up its fortunes.
Experts have advised that Ghana should take advantage of the trade agreement at both the policy level and business level. Mr. David Ofosu-Dorte, the Executive Chairman AB & David Africa, is one person who has offered direction in the opportunities for member countries. He posits that the AfCFTA takes power from the hands of the politician into the hands of the businesses. Governments have been slow in implementing such beneficial intervention. Therefore the businesses MUST aggressively look out for opportunities in the AfCFTA and pursue them.
There are calls for the government to educate the business community about the trade agreement and the support available. The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has the responsibility of educating potential patrons. GEPA has recently cautioned about a possible overlapping of products that could be prioritized by members of the AfCFTA therefore causing a glut. GEPA further advises exporters to primarily focus on their current markets outside the stipulated continental area. Exporters should very well look into markets in the West and in Asia in addition to the AfCFTA zone. A competitor analysis released by the GEPA suggests that the overlapping of products from African members could rather be a potential source of tension that could lead into competition rather than an opened market.
Additionally the International Trade Centre (ITC) on diversifying trade in Africa has recommended the need for African countries to develop a regional strategy due to the degree of overlap of sector priorities.
The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019, with a one-year transition period before the real trading begins among state parties on 1 July 2020. It will be the largest free trade area by the number of countries when it is fully operational (World Economic Forum)
Ghana has been selected to host the AfCFTA secretariat while Prof Alex Dodoo, the Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has been appointed as the Diplomatic Official to the AfCFTA Secretariat for and on behalf of the African Organisation for Standardisation.