The Alliance for Development and Industrialization, (ADI), one of the leading think tank groups in the country is urging the Akufo-Addo led administration, together with the Association of Ghanaian Industries, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority to swiftly raise US$5 billion in the next 5 years to support industries to unable them take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
This lifeline support to these industries would help them to expand, grow, and give job opportunities to the youths which would make the government rake in more taxes to support its developmental agenda.
It is also imperative for government and the private sector to catapult the drive of this continental free trade. Associations such as the Association of Ghanaian Industries, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Ghana Export Promotion Authority could also take advantage of this and use it as a launch pad for their members.
The government must support and promote these institutional make ups, as a matter of urgency, so they can explore the opportunities to enable them make entry into these countries.
Ghana has been politically stable after assigning to democracy in 1992 and it has proven to the whole world its political stability.
“We however pay a gratitude to our former presidents, Jerry John Rawlings, John Kuffuor, John Mahama and our current president Nana Akufo-Addo and more especially, our Trade Minister John Alan Kyeremanteng, for creating the conducive environment for the country,” it said.
This is the time for Ghana to take the lead as well as take the advantage of this continental free trade to grow and strengthen its export market, as it has already begun with the 1D1F and the Planting for Exports and Rural Development initiatives.
“Ghana’s economy can easily pay back the US$5billion credit facility that we are calling for through the exports of key commodities such as avocado, pineapple, coconut, sweet potato, among others,” it said.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.
According to the ADI, “the government should be able to raise the US$5 billion to take advantage of this opportunity which would put a stop to the way the government siphons the economy and still demand output. If we fail to take advantage of this opportunity then there is the likelihood that the economic growth of this country would be stagnant. We must take advantage of this opportunity to redeem our credibility, integrity and capability in terms of industrialization”, said Francis Mensah, Convener of ADI.
“The government’s support to these industries should be scetorial base, such that the agriculture sector be focused through the Ministry of Agriculture, also the textile and tourism sectors should be handled by the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Tourism respectively. Indeed, we need to think over these entire sectors so they can grow,” he said.
“We thank the government especially the Trade Minister for his role in pushing such an agenda but this throws a big challenge and the demand that industrial sector becomes strong,” the statement said.
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 the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general. The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
The establishment of the AfCFTA and the implementation of the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) provide a comprehensive framework to pursue a developmental regionalism strategy.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.
The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018.
The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.