The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated calls for effective private sector led participation to ensure the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Speaking at the 2024 World Economic Forum event on “Driving Action Under the African Continental Free Trade Area and Launching the First AfCFTA Private Sector Action Plan”, on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, President Akufo-Addo indicated that there is the need for private participation if AfCFTA is to be as transformational as envisaged.
“Critically, active private sector participation will be key to the success of this transformational initiative. Excellencies, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the AfCFTA is not a “government initiative”, rather it represents the first step toward empowering our private sector to lead the economic emancipation and transformation of our continent” he indicated.
He also assured the global economic community of Ghana’s unflinching commitment to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area and recognizes its potential to change the course of the continent’s economic development.
“As the host of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana is committed to the success of the AfCFTA, and recognizes its potential to change the trajectory of Africa’s economic development. It is a well-known fact that, for Africa to grow, she must overcome a legacy of market fragmentation, stemming from the many political and economic barriers that have stifled the continent’s developmental potential” he stated.
Viewed from this lens, President Akufo-Addo said “AfCFTA is a vision for a “new emancipated Africa that trades with herself, creates jobs for her peoples and produces what she consumes”. Ghana recognizes the transformative potential of this vision, and she is committed to doing her part to take advantage of the AfCFTA initiative and the opportunities it presents”.
He also spoke about what the Ghanaian Government has done to realize the full benefits of AfCFTA. “The Ghanaian Government has put in place a national AfCFTA Policy Framework, duly launched in August 2022, to provide the requisite strategic direction necessary for realizing the full benefits of the AfCFTA. Additionally, seven (7) thematic working groups were constituted under a National AfCFTA Coordination Office to oversee the facilitation of trade policy, infrastructure development, trade finance and factor market integration to support the national AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan”
Moreover, according to the President, the National AfCFTA Coordination Office launched a programme in 2020 to identify firms and businesses with strong export potential to support them in expanding their presence across African markets. Against the backdrop of sudden and dramatic disruptions to supply chains for essential products and increasingly frequent global crises, Ghana, he stressed, believes genuinely that the time has come to move towards an economic model which first and foremost serves Africa.
To realize fully the benefits of the AfCFTA, President Akufo-Addo indicated that there is the urgent necessity to address the critical need to finance and develop adequate infrastructure and services, so that domestic businesses can trade extensively beyond their borders. In addition, long-term cooperation in investment and competition policies will be essential to overcoming market dominance by a few actors and reducing structural and regulatory barriers to market entry, according to the President.
“Also, concerns relating to the destruction of jobs, currency manipulation, the proliferation of “cheap substitutes”, and the use of smaller nations as a beachhead for “tax-dodging” multinationals, must be addressed. Taken together, economic benefits, such as additional GDP growth of one to three percent, employment growth of some one-point-two percent (1.2%), intra-African trade growth of thirty-three percent (33%), and a fifty percent (50%) decline in Africa’s trade deficit, must strengthen our resolve towards leveraging the AfCFTA for the realization of a united, prosperous, and self-reliant Africa” he emphasized.
“Truly, we are one step closer finally to making Africa a proud, connected continent, where people cannot only realize their ambitions, but also do so in an atmosphere of continental brotherhood” he told the gathering.