Ghana Donates USD 10 Million for Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat Set-up

David Luke, Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre, Economic Commission for Africa

ACCRA, Ghana, August 20, 2019/APO:

The West African Republic of Ghana has  announced  it is donating  USD 10 million to  help set up Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which will be  stationed in the country.

Ghana was selected as the country to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), making it responsible for the overseeing of  implementation of the agreement.  The country has committed to donate $10 million for the operationalisation  of the CFTA Secretariat, according to a Press Release circulated by APO.

Ghana was among the first group of countries to ratify the agreement on 10 May 2018 following the 21 March 2018 signature of the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by 44 AU member states The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after ratification by the required 22 AU member states.

Meanwhile in Ghana, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC), are organising a High-Level Conference on CFTA from 19-21 August 2019, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana focsuing on Harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) for a Ghana beyond Aid.

The purpose of the National Conference is to bring together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the CFTA.

The President of the Republic of Ghana will use the opportunity to articulate his vision for the CFTA for a Ghana Beyond Aid. Participants will include Senior Policy Makers, Parliamentarians, the Business Community, Academia, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Development Parties and the Media. The Conference will also allow deeper reflection on issues pertinent to the advancement of the economy of Ghana within the framework of the CFTA.

Mr. Joseph Atta-Mensah, Principal Policy Advisor, Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Economic Commission for Africa said, “In the context of the recent designation of Ghana by the African Union Summit as the host of the CFTA Secretariat this dialogue adresses the question of how Ghana can design and implement effective strategies and policies that will support the promotion of rapid inclusive economic growth by boosting competitiveness and job creation under the CFTA.”

The operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was launched in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 at the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit, with a transition period up to 1 July 2020 when trading will begin under the deal.

Mr. David Luke, Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre, Economic Commission for Africa explains that Ghana’s CFTA implementation strategy “should not only focus on promoting high and sustainable long-term growth but also ensure that the benefits of such growth are widely shared in order to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living for all in Ghana.”

The CFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.

The main objectives of the CFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization across the continent.

The CFTA is further expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

This Conference is part of a wider project aimed at deepening Africa’s trade integration through effective implementation of the CFTA.

Financially supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts to ensure effective CFTA implementation strategies.