President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated government’s commitment to assisting Ghanaian enterprises to take advantage of the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Speaking at the 2nd National Conference on the African Continental Free Trade Area, held on Tuesday, October 20 at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo-Addo explained that the AfCFTA will ensure that trading amongst member states on the African Union will be duty-free and quota-free.
According to him, the AfCFTA, which is a market of some 1.2 billion people, will boost significantly intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation, diversify exports, improve food security, foster structural transformation, enhance economic growth, unleash the entrepreneurial dynamism of the African peoples, and create jobs for Africa’s youth.
“We, in Ghana, cannot afford to let this window of opportunity slip. We hope that the private sector, facilitated and actively supported by government, will be at the forefront of trying to take advantage of the vast possibilities presented by the AfCFTA,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “Ghana, like many African countries, is blessed with an abundance of resources. However, over the years, we have not been able to translate our resource wealth into the much-needed growth and development we desire, leaving our economy, still, in a fragile and unfulfilled state. The AfCFTA provides an enormous potential for trade and investments across various sectors which we must exploit.”
To take advantage of these opportunities, he explained that government has, since his assumption of office in 2017, implemented various innovative and strategic interventions to promote and expand production and value addition.
These, he said, include the ‘One District One Factory’ initiative, the development of new, strategic, anchor industries such as garments and textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobile assembly and component manufacturing, the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) initiative; the establishment of 67 Business Resource Centres, and 31 Technology Solution Centres; and the development of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones.
Underpinning all these initiatives, the President stressed, is the development of a robust and resilient macroeconomy, which will establish a strong foundation for the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy.
“I draw attention to these programmes and projects to reiterate the point that, in Ghana, we have already laid the building blocks for our private sector to harness the benefits of AfCFTA,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo, thus, reaffirmed Government’s determination “to assist Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of AfCFTA, and to ensure that the required financial and human resources are mobilised and developed to make Ghana a new manufacturing hub and financial services centre for the African continent.”
With the collective desire for shared prosperity, he was confident that the AfCFTA will succeed, and generate a new impetus and dynamism for the rapid growth of Africa’s economies, and deepen the process of integration in Africa.
“Empowered Ghanaian enterprises should be frontline actors of this new, exciting journey in Africa’s economic history. We owe it to generations unborn to ensure that the biggest trading bloc on the globe, whose outcomes will be rewarding to all Africans, and which will assist in attaining the ‘Africa We Want, does not falter,” he added.