Africa must take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase its share of global trade, the Minister of Trade and Industry, John Alan Kyerematen, has said.
According to him, Africa controlled only three per cent of global trade, yet it has all the resources to take the lead in global trade.
Mr Kyerematen made the observation during the launch of the new World Bank book on trade.
The seven-chapter book titled “Africa in the New Trade Environment: Market Access in Trouble Times,” is authored by two economists of the World Bank, Albert Zeufack and SoulemaneCoulibaly.
The book explores ways to maximise Africa’s access to the world market, while, at the same time, diversifying access to the emerging Asian markets.
It also suggest a three-pronged approach to boost Africa’s share of the global trade, including redirecting market access from traditional partners such as the US, UK, Germany, to trade with Asia.
Mr Kyerematen in his remarks said though Africa was endowed with so much resources, the continent fared badly in global trade.
He said Africa could not move on the path of prosperity if it continued to lag behind in global trade.
He attributed Africa’s low share of the global trade to failure of the respective African countries to prioritise trade as a national development agenda.
Mr Kyerematen also stressed the inability of the respective countries to focus on industrialisation“Another challenge accounting for Africa’s low participation is the failure to prioritise industrialisation,” he said, indicating that “We cannot trade without industrialisation.”
The Minister observed that the continent needed a comprehensive programme for transformation, to create a critical supply market for the continent.
“We need to look beyond AfCFTA and create Customers Union and leverage AfCFTA to access the global market,” he said.
Mr Kyerematen indicated that Africa must take advantage of global value chains to enhance its trade on the world market.
According to him, the government had introduced a number of initiatives to boost industrialisation in the country and mentioned the One District, One Factory as an example.
Mr Kyerematen assured the private sector in Ghana that government was firmly behind them.
“Government will work closely with the private sector so that we can take advantage of the recommendations in the book to promote trade in Ghana and Africa,” he said.
AfCFTA is an initiative by African countries to create a single market for movement of goods and services and trading under the programme came into effect in January 2021.
The initiative is expected to create a market of 1.2 billion with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $3 trillion, which is the single largest trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE