President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will today, August 19, open a three-day National Conference on the Implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement in Accra.
The conference will bring together key stakeholders in Ghana and beyond, to discuss strategies and interventions to harness the benefits of hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat and the benefits the African Continent would derive from it.
It would be held on the theme: “Harnessing the benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Area for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” which will attract senior policy-makers, parliamentarians, the Business Community, academia and representatives of civil society organisations, as well as development partners and experts on trade from Ghana and beyond.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, who announced this at a media briefing in Accra on Sunday, said President Akufo-Addo would use the opportunity to articulate Ghana’s vision for the AfCFTA towards achieving the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.
The Minister outlined some key issues that would be discussed at the conference including; Measures to Increase Intra-African Trade through a better Harmonisation and Coordination of Trade within the African Continent; Strategy to Address Fragmented Market in Africa by ensuring a Single Continental Market which would lead to economies of scale and Add Value to Africa’s abundant Natural Resources and Promote Economic Diversification and Industrialisation; as well as Developing Regional Value Chains and facilitating Cross Border Investment in Africa; and attracting Foreign Direct Investment with Strong Regional and Local Content to help address job and other economic constraints facing the African Continent.
The Assembly of the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in July, this year, selected Ghana to host the AfCFTA Secretariat at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger.
The Secretariat would implement the AfCFTA Agreement, which had been ratified by 25-member state.
The AfCFTA is expected to increase Intra-African trade by US$35 billion per annum or 55 per cent by 2022, while imports outside Africa is expected to decrease by US$10 billion annually, whereas agriculture and industrial exports would increase by four billion dollars representing seven per cent and US$21 billion (five percent) above the baseline respectively.
Government urged all participating stakeholders to make meaningful contributions towards ensuring a successful hosting of the AfCFTA and derive the necessary benefit from it.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said Ghana would focus on adding value to its raw materials and cited the agreement Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire have reached towards adding value to their cocoa beans, in order for them to maximise profits.