Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Ghana: President Akufo Addo urges stakeholders to use AFCFTA to boost internal development

Article from AFRIC Editorial
If there is one event that has marked the African continent in recent times, it is the African continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA). Since the launch of the operational phase of the historic continental free trade area, individual nations have been putting together strategies on how they can effectively use the trade deal to boost internal development. The president of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo Addo, who hosts the secretariat of this strong institution, has given a challenge to African stake holders in general and Ghanaian stakeholders in particular, to positively exploit the historic African Continental free trade area to boost socio-economic development in Ghana and Africa at large. President Akufo Addo made the clarion call in late August, while addressing a three-day national conference on the execution of the African Continental free trade area. The conference sought to brainstorm on ways to fully exploit the advantages or benefits of the historic continental free trade area.

The dream of a continent beyond aid

For a while now, the leadership of Ghana has been advocating for Africa/Ghana beyond aid, and to attain this objective, President Akufo Addo believes that the advent of the AfCFTA already presents a better trajectory for African nations and Ghana in particular. That notwithstanding, President Akufo Addo has clearly defined how engaged his government is as far has putting policies in place that will favour trade and investment in the west African nation, making good use of the existing continental free trade area.  Remember good government policies has a lot to do with investments. So even if AfCFTA is put in place and governments do not compromise its policies to favour trade and investment, it would still be a bone of contention. Like his other counterparts, Ghanaian strongman Nana Akufo Addo has always advocated for regional integration, African common market place that would see Africa beyond air.

President Akufo Addo recently bemoaned the fact ‘’the African people live in poverty and misery in the midst of plenty, reiterating that ‘’we remain poor in spite of our rich endowment of natural resources’. Thus the AfCFTA will give countries the opportunity to exploit their natural resources as competition will be high among member nations. As clearly stated by Ghanaian minister of trade and industries some time ago, the realization of the African continental free trade area would be a great milestone for the continent towards the creation of a lone market and the upliftment of the economic status quo of the continent.

As per statistics, 54 out of 55 African nations have already signed the trade agreement. The latest signature by Nigeria, one of Africa’s giant economies, during an extraordinary summit of AU heads of state and governments in Niger gave more impetus to the continental free trade.(Nigeria is very renowned when it comes to doing business, and many people feel that with its expertise, it would be a major boost to AfCFTA).  As at now 25 African Union member countries have completed the ratification phase of the deal. If fully implemented, AfCTFA would represent a market place of 1.2 billion people, with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.  Movement of goods, services and persons from one African nation to another would be at large, hence promoting intra African trade.  Like President Akufo Addo of Ghana would  put it, regional integration and unity would  greatly contribute to the success of the continental free trade. Unity is strength. However, with the recent developments on the continent, some critics have expressed fear that it is already posing as an impediment to AfCFTA.

The recent row between two giant economic powers on the continent is already a call for concern. There is much tension between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal republic of Nigeria, after acts of cruelty were meted on Nigerians based in South Africa, acts that the world has termed as xenophobic. There was equally tension between Rwanda and Uganda, though President Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni recently inked a peace deal to end the border feuds.  From a critical perspective, the minute disputes between nations is either directly or indirectly affecting the operational phase of the African continental free trade area. It is therefore imperative for AU member states to address border issues which stand as obstacles to the dream free trade in Africa.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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