The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has disclosed that President Akufo-Addo will be opening a three-day National Conference on the Implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AFCFTA in Accra.
According to him, the purpose of the Conference is to bring together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.
He said, “The theme is ‘Harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area for a Ghana Beyond Aid”.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah further disclosed that the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) selected Ghana as the host country for the Secretariat in July at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
“The core mandate of the Secretariat will be to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has since been ratified by 25 member states. President Akufo-Addo at the conference will use the opportunity to articulate Ghana’s vision for the AfCFTA for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he revealed.
The Information Minister, however, mentioned that participants will include Senior Policy Makers, Parliamentarians, the Business Community, Academia, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners and the Media from Ghana and Beyond.
“Ghana and for that matter, Africa is hoping to derive these benefits from implementing the AfCFTA which includes; an Increase intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade within the African continent,” he recalled.
It is estimated that intra-African trade will increase by as much as $35 billion per annum or 52% by 2022; Consequently, imports from outside the continent could decrease by $ 10 billion per year, whereas Agricultural and Industrial exports would increase by $ 4 billion (7%) and $ 21 billion (5%) above the baseline respectively (UNECA, 2014).
The Minister of Information is confident that the event will address the challenge of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single continental market which will lead to economies of scale and add value to Africa’s abundant natural resources and promote economic diversification and industrialization;
“The event will also develop regional value chains and facilitate cross border investments in Africa and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into Africa with strong regional and local content to help address foreign exchange constraints.” the Minister justified.
He was confident that Government will urge all participating stakeholders to contribute to the success of this conference.