The Director of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Anthony Nyame-Baafi has disclosed that the interest of the private sector will be at the forefront in negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement.
He said, “In each of the various technical groups government will constitute to negotiate this agreement, there will be private sector representatives on board to tell us the reality on the ground on some of the challenges they encounter when exporting to other African countries.”
“The private sector will be the main implementers of this agreement because in reality they are the ones that will be moving our exports across the continent.”
Mr. Nyame-Baafi made these remarks at a three-day capacity building retreat for members of the Inter-Institutional Committee (IIC) on the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in Koforidua.
The Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE) funded workshop is to apprise members of the committee on the ongoing negotiations on CFTA, the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between Ghana and the European Union.
The engagement is intended as a sensitisation and information sharing exercise to calm the anxieties of stakeholders and achieve a national consensus particularly on specific trade and related matters so as to protect the collective national interest at the ongoing Continental Free Trade Area Agreement expected to be concluded by December, 2017.
In June 2015, African leaders launched negotiations to create a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The CFTA aims to create a comprehensive and mutually beneficial single continental market for goods and services; with free movement of business persons and investments; resolving the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
In light of this, Ghana through the Ministry of Trade and Industry formed the Inter-Institutional Committee which comprises of members from institutions like the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Ministry of Finance and the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) among others.
The committee after the retreat will recommend to government, the plausible way forward in addressing lingering issues agitating the minds of the business community.