AfCFTA neglects measures to improve productive capacity of Africa – Dr Yao Graham

Dr. Graham

Dr. Graham

The framework for the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement focused too much on African trade liberalisation to the neglect of measures in improving the productive capacity of the continent Coordinator of the think tank, Third World Network (TWN) Africa, Dr Yao Graham has said.

Dr Graham told reporters in Accra on Tuesday after the opening of a three-day Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on the AfCFTA, that there were not broad consultation and engagement  to seek the input of stakeholders such as civil society organisations and the private into the framework, indicating that “the CFTA framework process was not broad-based and democratic.”

The programme, being organised by the TWN-Africa under the auspices of the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), is being attended by representatives from all over Africa and the participants are from Policy Think Tanks, Civil Society, the Private Sector, Manufacturing Associations and African Union.

Forty-four African countries including Ghana on March 21 this year adopted the AfCFTA at a special summit of the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda and currently four countries namely, Ghana, Kenya, Niger and Rwanda have ratified the agreement.

The objective of the AfCFTA is to liberalise Africa’s trade and integrate Africa’s economies and per the agreement, the 44 states which are party to the framework are to liberalise 90 per cent of their trade.

This according to TWN-Africa was envisaged to increase intra-African trade from the current 12 to 22 per cent in the next five years when the agreement was entered into force.

Dr Graham said Africa’s experience for the past thirty years on trade liberalisation had indicated that trade liberalisation on its own did not bring development.

He said trade aspect of the liberalisation should be critically examined not repeat the mistakes of other countries which embarked on trade liberalisation, and opined that trade liberalisation should be developmental and incorporates strategies to improve the productive capacity of the continent.

“If trade liberalisation is not linked to other sectors of the economy, Africa will be integrating its markets for the benefit of foreign goods and services,” Dr Graham said.

The Director of Trade and Industry of the AU Commission, Mrs Treasure Maphanga in a speech read on her behalf entreated the AU member countries to improve consultation and collaboration on the AfCFTA framework.

“The AfCFTA will not succeed unless there is a robust dialogue at the national level complemented by regional and continental dialogue sessions,” she said.

By Kingsley Asare





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