Ghana’s President, Addo Akufo-Addo, has said the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, will put African countries, hit by the devastating impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, back on track. According to him, the African trade deal will be a game-changer because it has the potential to stimulate intra-Africa trade Addressing the first African Continental Free Trade Area webinar, President Akufo-Addo said the continent was poised for inclusive and sustainable development.
“We are determined to enter into a new era of industrialisation and have access to a single continental market. We will be a game-changer on that market as it will be the key to the ability of businesses on the continent to recover from the adverse effect of COVID-19 and proceed to grow in leverage of the new opportunities available to the market,” he said.
Akufo-Addo also promised an intensified public education on the agreement so more businesses can take advantage of it. African countries began officially trading under a new continent-wide free trade area last Friday, after months of delays caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. AfCFTA aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc that will be the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It also seeks to establish a single market for goods and services, allowing for free movement of business travellers and investments. Meanwhile, 41 of the zone’s 54 member states have submitted tariff reduction schedules. Ghana hosts the AfCFTA Secretariat, which is tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the successful implementation of the agreement.
The secretariat operates as an autonomous organ of the African Union charged with implementing the decisions of the higher organs of the body in respect of the wide array of areas covered by the agreement, ranging from industrialization to Intellectual Property, and from trade in professional services to the harmonisation of standards for manufactured goods.