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Trade, Foreign Ministries organise Accra confab with AU on Free Trade

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC), are organising a High-Level Conference on AfCFTA from August 19 to 21, 2019, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana focsuing on Harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a Ghana beyond Aid.

The purpose of the National Conference is to bring together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA. The President of the Republic of Ghana will use the opportunity to articulate his vision for the AfCFTA for a Ghana Beyond Aid. Participants will include Senior Policy Makers, Parliamentarians, the Business Community, Academia, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Development Parties and the Media. The Conference will also allow deeper reflection on issues pertinent to the advancement of the economy of Ghana within the framework of the AfCFTA.

The Principal Policy Advisor, Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Economic Commission for Africa, Joseph Atta-Mensah, said the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in Niamey, Niger on July 7, 2019 at the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit, with a transition period up to July 1, 2020, to when trading will begin under the deal.

Ghana was selected as the country to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), making it responsible for the overseeing the implementation of the agreement.

The country has committed to donate $10 million for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat.

Ghana was among the first group of countries to ratify the agreement on 10 May 2018, following the March 21, 2018 signature of the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by 44 AU member states.

The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after ratification by the required 22 AU member states.

The Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre, Economic Commission for Africa, David Luke, explains that Ghana’s AfCFTA implementation strategy “should not only focus on promoting high and sustainable long-term growth but also ensure that the benefits of such growth are widely shared in order to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living for all in Ghana.”

The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union.

It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization across the continent.

The AfCFTA is further 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.

This Conference is part of a wider project aimed at deepening Africa’s trade integration through effective implementation of the AfCFTA.

Financially, supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts to ensure effective AfCFTA implementation strategies.

 

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