The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has called on governments of African countries to put in place the needed institutional and logistical support frameworks to ensure that they collectively reap the full benefits from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
He said, the institutional and logistical frameworks would ensure the easy movement of goods and services from one country to another.
“At our national levels, we should have institutional structures and a programme of action for boosting intra African trade to enable entrepreneurs to produce to take advantage of the huge market provided by the agreement. We must ensure that we have the logistics support to ensure that we are able to move the goods from one country to another,” he stated.
Mr Kyerematen was speaking at the launch of the Africa Guided Trade Initiative in Accra on Friday.
The guided trade initiative was launched for seven member countries Tanzania, Mauritania, Kenya, Egypt, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Ghana which have signaled their readiness to start trading under AfCFTA.
The minister said the launch of the initiative was an indication that AfCFTA was not just on paper but a reality.
“We are moving from talk and negotiations to action. It also symbolises that governments in Africa who have been involved in the negotiations are now giving way to the private sector to make it a reality,” he added.
Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene said, at least 96 different products from the seven countries could be freely traded under the rules of AfCFTA.
He said the products approved to trade under AfCFTA include horticultural products, pharmaceuticals, rubber, aluminum kitchenware, sugar, steel, and wooden products.
The products originating from Africa, he noted, would enjoy duty-free and quota-free trading among the partnering countries.
“We are connecting East Africa to West Africa, North Africa to Southern Africa. Trade will be the driver of inclusivity, creating opportunities for young Africans.
So we have taken the first journey today, and I hope in 15 years, we will have succeeded in lifting millions and millions of Africans out of poverty,” Mr Mene added.
He said the actualisation of AfCFTA was the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity adding that “we have finally honored and made reality the vision of those who liberated our continent.”
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS