About 60 women in cross-border trade have been trained to increase their awareness of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Regional Trade Rules.
Organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in partnership with the German Development Cooperation, the workshop was also to provide a platform for engagement to help improve the responsiveness of theNational Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) and Gender Working Group in gender-sensitive trade policy making.
The sensitisation workshop, which was on the theme “Women in Trade: Promoting Inclusiveness to harness the benefits of AfCFTA,”was in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day.
The participants were drawn from various women groups including the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE), Ghana Union of Traders Association (Women Representatives), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (Women Representatives), Women in Shipping and Transport International (WISTA) and Ghana Customs Division of GRA (Including Customs Ladies).
Addressing the participants, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nana AmaDokuaAsiamah-Adjei (MP), indicated that as part of government’scommitments under the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Ministry established the NTFC to coordinate and implement trade facilitation reforms in Ghana.
She said Ghana’s commitments under AfCFTA, ECOWAS Protocols, Ghana-EU interim Economic Partnership Agreement(iEPA) and the Ghana UK Trade Partnership Agreement (TPA), had expanded the scope of the NTFC to include trade facilitation commitments under these agreements.
Referring to a study by the World Bank Trade Facilitation West Africa Programme (TFWA), she noted that women constituted a major part of small-scale informal cross-border traders who face obstacles in moving their goods across the borders.
Those obstacles, MrsAsiamah-Adjeiincluded lack of knowledge of border procedures, cumbersome border procedures though they trade in low value goods, sexual harassment, lack of access to finance among others.
Ms Asiamah-Adjeisaid the mandate of the Gender Working Group includes the identification of challenges facing women traders and the development and implementation of gender responsive trade policies in the country.
She expressed the hope that the outcome of the workshop would be a policy brief on the opportunities for women in cross-border trade under AfCFTA which would serve as a guide toGhana’s negotiating team on Phase III negotiations of the AfCFTA on Gender, Youth and SMEs.
The Cluster Coordinator for Inclusive Economic Development atGIZ in Ghana, Gerald Guskowski,noted thatGIZ Ghana has so far supported in training about 500 officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division) on the AfCFTA Rules of Origin, of which 30 per cent were women.
A Team Leader in charge of Trade Facilitation at the Ministry,Kyeremeh Yeboah, took participants through the processes to trade under AfCFTA and how women and the youth have been catered for under the agreement.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS