President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given an assurance that the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be up and running by March this year for trading activities to begin in the free trade area by July this year.
He said to reap the fruits of the AfCFTA and realise the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, the government’s first order of business was to continue to ensure the maintenance of macroeconomic stability to facilitate the growth of Ghana’s economy.
President Akufo-Addo, who was addressing the Ghana Investments and Opportunities Summit yesterday as part of the UK-Africa Business Summit in London, said the realisation of the AfCFTA signalled the completion of processes to create the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“It also reiterates the desire of the 54 African member states of the African Union (AU) that have signed the agreement for the coming into effect of the AfCFTA to work with a common voice and a common purpose to explore the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of the African people.
“We know that the success of the AfCFTA would mean the era of low volumes of intra-regional trade that have defined the activities of African economies will come to an end,” the President stated.
While expressing his disappointment at the low level of trade among African countries, President Akufo-Addo said: “We should guarantee a rapid increase in exchanges of our agricultural, financial, industrial, scientific and technological products which will enhance, dramatically, our attainment of prosperity and the prospects of employment for African people, particularly our youth”.
He said the overarching aims of the AfCFTA were to harness the benefits to develop and expand “our economies and create sustainable jobs for our youth”.
Up till now, he said, trade between African nations remained low, compared to trade with other parts of the world.
In 2000, he said, intra-regional trade accounted for 10 per cent of Africa’s total trade and increased to 16 per cent in 2015.
“Intra-regional trade in 2015 among members of the European Union (EU), for example, amounted to 70 per cent, 52 per cent among the nations of Asia and 50 per cent among the nations of North America. Surely, an increase in intra-regional trade in Africa is one of the surest ways to promote the progress we seek for Africa,” President Akufo-Addo stated