The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen has reiterated that the most beneficial way to deepen regional integration in Africa is to increase trade through the protocols of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
AfCFTA is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years.
Mr Kyerematen made the point in a speech read on his behalf at a day’s seminar on ‘Regional Opportunities on the Benefits and Opportunities of the AfCFTA’ in Ho on Friday.
“The AfCFTA is a major milestone towards regional integration and remains a viable vehicle for industrialisation and economic development of our countries,” he pointed out.
Mr Kyerematen insisted that the efficient and smooth implementation of the AfCFTA agreement would definitely boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation and also foster structural transformation as well as improve food security.
“It would also enhance economic growth and export diversification and provide fresh impetus and dynamism to economic integration in Africa,” the Minister of Trade and Industry added.
According to him, the economic integration of the continent would lay a strong foundation for an Africa Beyond Aid.
Furthermore, Mr Kyerematen projected that the AfCFTA agreement, when implemented effectively, would lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and 70 million from moderate poverty, by 2035.
He revealed that AfCFTA trading from January 1, 2021 had ushered in a new age of industrialisation in Africa with access to a single continental market size of 1.2 billion and an estimated domestic GDP of USD 3.4 trillion.
“The AfCFTA is the key to African businesses recovering from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking to leverage new opportunities in new markets.
The programme was organised by the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFIC), Bank of Ghana, National Investment Bank, B5 Plus Group and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Ho Municipal Assembly to sensitise the business community about the benefits and opportunities of AfCFTA.
It was attended by representatives of business groups, traditional rulers, personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service and members of the public.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO