Caretaker Minister for Trade and Industries Samuel Abu Jinapor, has urged the Private sector in Ghana and in Africa to own the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agenda.
This he said will boost Intra-African trade and Africa’s prosperity within the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and continue to work with Governments in achieving its full implementation.
Jinapor who is the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources said the private sector will not only be the driving force of AfCFTA, but will also be the primary beneficiary of the single market when Africa achieves the desired levels of trade between Africans as a people.
He added that the advancement of intra-continental trade would mean private businesses can expand their markets, and venture into new territories which were previously inaccessible to them.
Mr Jinapor made the call at the closing ceremony of a two-day Business and Policy Leaders’ Dialogue of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues held at the Safari Valley Resort, Adukrom, Eastern Region.
It was organised by the Government of Ghana, through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Africa Prosperity Network and Economic Commission for Africa.
The dialogue was aimed at proffering actionable solutions to boost intra-African trade and ensuring Africa’s prosperity within the context of the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 for economic transformation.
It was held on the theme, “AfCFTA-From Ambition to Action: Delivering Prosperity through Continental Trade”.
Some key stakeholders in attendance include government representatives across the continent, business leaders, policymakers, heads of Africa Investment Promotion Agencies, academia and the diplomatic community as well as key stakeholders in Africa and international partners.
While targeting the private sector, he noted that “we must drill down further to address the needs of Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises in our respective countries, as they contribute more than half of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Indeed, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) account for some ninety percent (90%) of all businesses in Africa, and provide for some eighty percent (80%) of jobs across the continent”.
Closing on the theme“ AfCFTA: From Ambition to Action, Delivering Prosperity Through Continental Trade”, Jinapor indicated that The quality of presentations, the constructive exchanges, and active participation over the past two days, are clear testimonies of their collective desire to move from ambition to action, and to deliver prosperity through AfCFTA for the “Africa We Want.”
He added that the discussions over the last two days, have shown that through public-private and multi-sectorial engagements, Africa can unblock the bottlenecks that hamper the full realisation of the single market agenda.
Jinapor therefore called on Ministers, policymakers, government representatives, and representatives of regional economic communities, to work with the private sector to institute the requisite institutional and logistical frameworks for the private sector to thrive.
He enlightened participants that Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, as the lead policy advisor of Government on matters of domestic and international trade and industry, places a lot of premium on the AfCFTA, which is the fulcrum around which most of our trade policies revolve.
In view of the importance Ghana places on AfCFTA, the Caretaker Minister disclosed a number of initiatives the Ministry has undertaken in collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat saying;
” Since the establishment of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra, the Ministry has worked closely with the Secretariat, and has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the AfCFTA, including the establishment of the National AfCFTA Coordination Office, the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Policy and Action Plan for AfCFTA, and the implementation of an AfCFTA Facilitation Programme aimed at promoting local companies to produce and export to the AfCFTA market”.
On behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Government of Ghana, The Caretaker Minister, Jinapor appreciated the efforts of the African Prosperity Network (APN), led by its Executive Director, Dr. Eugene Owusu, and all other partners, particularly the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), led by its distinguished Secretary-General, H.E. Wamkele Mene, for facilitating the holding of such a high-level business and policy dialogue on the very consequential issue of the AfCFTA.