Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country have been tasked to be proactive to enable them to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to the Executive Chairman and Senior Partner at AB and David Law Affiliates, David Ofosu Dorte, the Ghanaian private sector was not ready for AfCFTA this year, though government was preparing to have the secretariat ready before the arrival of the AfCFTA’s Secretary General and Directors in April.
Mr Dorte was speaking at the 3rd Invest in Africa (IIA) Excellence Awards in Accra last Friday on the theme, “Preparing local businesses for regional market opportunities.”
The event sought to reward and recognise indigenous businesses which have demonstrated entrepreneurial excellence and developed the capacity to participate in supply chains of large local and international companies.
The overall award — Star of Excellence — went to Joissam Ghana Limited, while seven other companies took home various awards at the event.
According to Mr Dorte, a survey conducted among SMEs in the country disclosed that, only 13 per cent were well informed about AfCFTA, while 87 per cent were yet to have full knowledge about it.
The survey, he noted, was a reflection of SMEs readiness to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
Mr Dorte noted that there was a difference in opening a secretariat and taking advantage of it, urging the private sector to work with government in ensuring that “it takes full advantage”, pointing out that, “the government has done its best in securing the secretariat”
Mr Dorte advised SMEs to be proactive enough to engage banks and the government “to see how it can lower the cost of borrowing to an appreciable level.”
He said governments introduce policies and the delivery of such policies depended on the engagements of the private sector with the government on the delivery of such policies.
He said as AfCFTA was expected to be effective from July 1 this year, SMEs should improve their skills, be technology-driven and have a good business culture.
The Country Director of Invest in Africa (IIA), Clarence Nartey, said Africa would be able to strengthen its position in any international negotiation with the coming on board of AfCFTA.
He said AfCFTA would create the world’s largest free trade zone, explaining that over one billion consumers, a potential $3trillion economy and zero tariffs on goods, could be traded across African countries.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU