The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has launched the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Hub concept in Ghana to promote, enhance and advance digital trading, electronic commerce, and e-marketplace transactions.
The AfCFTA Hub is an initiative that brings together the AfCFTA Secretariat and strategic partners like AfroChampions to work hand in hand with governments to create a network for accelerating regional integration to drive trade and deliver economic transformation.
Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful stated that the AfCFTA Hub is the principal tool for aligning Ghana’s wide-ranging digitalization policy with the various opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
She noted that the Hub will make it easier for technology startups and other producers of ICT goods and services to find markets across Africa.
“Our business process outsourcing landscape can be revitalized by AfCFTA as Ghana becomes a hub for call center, data processing, data science and various digital services for businesses all over the continent and beyond,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful mentioned that at the heart of the AfCFTA Hub system is the idea of an ‘AfCFTA Number’ – a trusted business identifier for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), startups and other economic actors.
“The AfCFTA Number is a ‘unique code per entity’ model designed to lead to a Trusted Business Director of economic actors that build social credit by maintaining compliance with the necessary regulatory criteria for doing business,” she explained.
The Minister indicated that it is imperative to use digital technology to bolster the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy to enable economic actors in those sectors to expand their markets through AfCFTA.
She added that the AfCFTA Hub is the reality of a comprehensive end-to-end identity management system interlinked with credit management, human security, business facilitation, enhanced government administration and even the improvement of democracy itself.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted that the hub is also the manifestation of a new smart working environment across the public services enabled by productivity software and dramatically improved connectivity.
“It is the realisation of the common platform, Ghana Card, SIM Card Registration, Smart Workplace, e-Transform, Obaatanpa, Trancop, digital addressing, fintech and the revamp of the national fibreoptic network” she stressed.
She acknowledged that with the AfCFTA Hub operationalised, it will become even harder to ignore the transformation created by government’s Digital Ghana Agenda
She emphasised that it will provide a ready-made platform for different operators, such as traders, buyers and logistics providers to interact and do business not just in Ghana but also in time across the subregion.
The Minister noted that the AfCFTA Hub and AfCFTA Number will pave way for quicker exchange of regulatory intelligence among government agencies to ensure sound compliance.
She said that the AfCFTA Hub will help in suppressing fraud in e-commerce and Digital trading by simplifying background checks on e-traders and other businesses that offer services online.
She, therefore, directed all persons and enterprises engaged in the business of courier, postal, delivery, logistics, ridesharing, digital trading and any enterprise of that nature to obtain an AfCFTA Number.
” I will take this opportunity to advise Mega-platforms such as Uber, Glovo, Bolt, Jumia, Tonaton, Yango, Amazon and others to ensure that all businesses registered on their platforms promptly secure their AfCFTA number and start taking the necessary steps to integrate their transaction processing systems with the AfCFTA Hub” she added.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated that Ghana and six other African countries would soon begin onboarding young entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups to obtain free AfCFTA number to complement other AfCFTA mechanisms.
Mr Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister, MoTI, said with AfCFTA resolving trade facilitation, border and other business issues, the hub would engender economic diversification and create jobs for the youth on the African continent.
He asked businesses to take advantage of the array of digital tools in trade and pledged that the Ministry would protect SMEs and export to neighbouring countries smoothly.
The Principal Communication Advisor at AFCFTA Secretariat, Mrs. Grace Khoza also indicated that COVID-19 has shown people and continents that digital trade can help in giving them the ability to do better and quicker than their previous generation.
“There is a saying on the African Continent that says: ‘If you want to go fast, you go alone. But if you want to go far, you come together.’ Everything is possible if we do it collectively,” she said.
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