Executive Director for AfCFTA Policy Network, Mr. Louis Yaw Afful, has disclosed that, the preparedness of African countries to fully enjoy the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) will not be an immediate success due to the long term nature of the single market trade.
Interacting with the Vaultz News, Mr. Afful cited other aspects of the trade agreement such as the Agenda 2063 which corroborated his stance on the fact that the trade agreement isn’t time bound, thriving on the strategies set by the ratified countries.
“No country has hundred percent preparedness; it takes time, it’s a free trade area [and] it’s not like one concept where it starts today and ends tomorrow. It’s a free trade area that will be there for a long time to come and it’s part of the Agenda 2063 of the African Union which is just one aspect. Continental Free Trade is one aspect of the broader plan that African Union will want to have. Now, every country is supposed to strategize, so what government has done is that, it has set up ministerial committee, steering committee and technical working groups under the Ministry of Trade. Every Ministry of Trade is responsible for AfCFTA issues and the Ministry of Trade in Ghana has set up the Ghana AfCFTA office specifically for this”.
Mr. Afful further stated that, since the commencement on January 1, some companies which have shipped under the free trade are Kasapreko and Ghandour and the duo “have shipped under free trade to certain countries- South Africa and Ethiopia”.
“On the continental scale, other countries too have; Egypt, Rwanda and many more. Ghana is not doing badly, the sensitization has been very strong in Ghana, the education has been very strong, customs have been positioned fully well, and customs management have been trained.
“There have been AfCFTA rules of origin [which] is also in place and the AfCFTA certificate of origin has also been launched- customs is in charge of that one and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce is also one of the agencies and institutions that will supervise and issue the AfCFTA certificate of origin and exporters will apply and they go through the process- that is what is important; to know whether the goods they are exporting fall within the respective tariffs. If that is done, we can know whether the goods are liberalized or not”.
In the past, some stakeholders like the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng had expressed some misgivings on the level of preparedness of the country in fully harnessing its potential.
Reacting to this, Mr. Afful conceded to the fact that GUTA indeed hasn’t received much sensitization on the trade deal. He, however, asserted that “there has been a lot of work that has also gone on”.
“Sometimes I think that the union and stakeholders also need to position their members such that they can receive such programs and opportunities to attend. I know AGI has done a lot for them, Ghana Chamber of Commerce… in terms of sensitization, I think there’s been a lot. But in terms of understanding certain things, maybe there’s still more time for them to grasp especially some of the technical issues needs to be broken down for them to understand”.
Leave a Reply