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Sun, Sep

GAINS FROM AFRICAN CONTINENT FREE TRADE AREA WILL SPEED UP GHANA’S DEVELOPMENT, SAYS AKUFO-ADDO

Business & Economy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that his government will ensure that Ghana uses the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to accelerate the country’s development.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that his government will ensure that Ghana uses the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to accelerate the country’s development.

 

Speaking at the opening of a three-day national conference on the Implementation of the AfCFTA agreement in Accra yesterday, the President said successful implementation of the agreement “ties in perfectly with the vision of moving our country to a situation beyond aid and [into] self-reliance”.

Addressing participants from across the continent, President Akufo-Addo said the vision to move Ghana to a situation beyond aid, as well as his government’s determination to make intelligent and disciplined use of the nation’s vast resources, will be realised better if the benefits and opportunities inherent in the AfCFTA agreement are harnessed holistically.

Sound management

He added that with sound management of the economy, the country is now back on track and has made significant economic gains.

“We’ve restored fiscal discipline and managed the economy in a manner that guarantees pragmatism in mobilising and deploying our national resources and efficiently managed economy together with a continuous creation of a business-friendly atmosphere essential to driving investment, stimulating growth and creating employment,” he said.

The President said his government is taking steps to change the structure of the Ghanaian economy by addressing productivity capacity issues, taking the country away from relying on the exports of raw materials to adding value to the country’s natural resources and promoting industrialisation aggressively.

To this end, the President said initiatives such as One District, One Factory, coupled with others such as the emerging automobile industry, as well as the deliberate steps being taken to upgrade education for Ghanaian children, are being pursued vigorously to transform the country to enable it to derive maximum benefits from the AfCFTA agreement.

Journey of AfCTA

Welcoming participants to the programme, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, acknowledged the instrumental roles played by former Presidents John Jerry Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, as well as Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as Ghana bid to host the secretariat of the CFTA.

“At long last, our beloved continent has woken up from a very long slumber. The dream of establishing a single market … has been the dream for the founding fathers of the continent for several decades,” Mr Kyerematen said.

With 54 out of the 55 countries in Africa having signed the landmark agreement, Africa now has a single market at last. It will be the largest free trade area in the world, with a combined gross domestic product of roughly US$3 trillion and a population of 1.2 billion.

Ghana’s role

Ghana has played a critical role in bringing the continent to where it is now, the Trade Minister said, mentioning the contribution by Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, which led to the unification of the continent.

The idea of a single market for Africa emerged in February 2011 in Accra, he added. Then, in January 2012, the heads of state of the African Union endorsed the decision by the ministerial committee to establish a single market and continental free trade agreement.

The Trade Minister also acknowledged the efforts of the late President John Evan Atta Mills, under whose tenure the motion which led to the passing of the AfCFTA agreement was tabled by AU heads of state.

“Our current President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was one of the first to put his signature to this agreement and I think that is very significant. Our President was also the first to offer to host the secretariat of the Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.

Ghana’s reward to host the secretariat is no mere accident, he said, adding that having a single market for Africa will propel the level of intra-African trade.

AfCFTA

Last month, Ghana was chosen by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union to host the AfCFTA secretariat. The core mandate of the secretariat will be to implement the AfCFTA agreement.

The AfCFTA agreement makes Africa the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

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