The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has given its support to SMEs in order for them to fully benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The ICC Secretary General, Mr. John Denton, during an official working visit to Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa, noted that the Chamber is collaborating with its regional ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship (CoEs) on the continent to prioritize and prepare SMEs to harness greater participation in the AfCFTA, with a focus on promoting cross-border trade.
According to Denton, the Chamber will place a significant emphasis on open innovations for SMEs and take a special interest in women-led firms. The Chamber has four Centers of Entrepreneurship around Africa, including in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco.
Already, the ICC has built capacity for several women-led businesses in Africa with recent programmes partnering UPS, Tralac and West Blue Consulting. The Chamber also hosted an open innovation for several startups in Nigeria, Kenya and the World Food Programme innovation accelerator in East Africa.
The ICC’s CoE, as communicated by Mr. Denton , aspires to develop and further extend the Chamber’s large global network, which presently includes 6.5 million firms in over 130 countries. This focus on entrepreneurship, he said, is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Apart from these inroads, the Chamber is also driving ecosystem partnerships with public and private actors including United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Development Programme and development agencies such as USAID and GIZ.”Mr. John Denton
ICC Visits Trade Ministry, Promises To Help Ghana Solve Issues Surrounding The WTO
More so, Mr. Denton noted that the ICC has enjoyed a close working relationship with the Ministry of Trade and Industry through its Ghana National Chapter since the Chamber was launched in the country.
He said the ICC Ghana has led the organized private sector to advocate for the ratification of the World Trade Organisation Trade (WTO) Facilitation Agreement in Ghana and followed up with its implementation with the support of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, an activity which, he asserted, is still ongoing for the National Trade Facilitation Committee.
He stated that the ICC is currently pushing for the extension of the WTO Moratorium on custom duties on Electronic Transmission and is therefore ready to engage government on that, and also provide support or capacity building on international best practice on the calculation of VAT which has been a source of concern for ICC members globally.
Dr. Stephen Amoah, the Minister of trade and industry -who is in charge of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), addressing Mr. Denton during a courtesy call, averred that Ghana has aspiring entrepreneurs with the potential to expand the country’s economy, but will need to be exposed to the required capital and ideas in order to be able to scale up and be competitive.
The deputy Minister was given an overview of the activities of the Court by Marietta Brew Appiah, who represents Ghana at the ICC’s International Court of Arbitration.
The ICC Secretary-General visited the Minister with his team from the renowned Global Association of Businesses, including Ghana’s former Attorney General, Marieta Brew Appiah who is a member of the ICC’ Arbitration Court and Doni Kwame, the Secretary-General of ICC Ghana.