Africa Free Trade to rake in $35bn – Alan Kyerematen

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is set to increase intra-African trade by some $35 billion per annum from 2022, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has disclosed.

Given the fact that the AfCFTA would ensure that the entire continent has a single market which covers a total population of 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3 trillion, it would help boost intra-African trade.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, the sector Minister, Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen indicated that the AfCFTA would harmonise and coordinate trade within the African continent.

“If economies that have achieved excellent performances are trading among themselves, how is it that the African continent cannot appreciate the fact that that is the way to go? This has been the tragedy of our continent and that is why we are focusing on how to increase intra-African trade,” the minister noted.

It is of no doubt, he noted, that Ghana was going to benefit immensely from the agreement, adding that it is important that Ghanaians will take advantage of the agreement.

According to the Minister, “Ghana stands to benefit the more from the AfCFTA.”
“The hosting of the secretariat will provide opportunities to recruit Ghanaian professionals and administrative staff, thus providing employment to our people,” he added.

It will attract major international financial institutions and become the preferred location for sitting the corporate headquarters of international companies doing business in Africa.

Touching on the strategic objectives of agreement, the minister pointed that “it will address the challenge of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single continental market which will lead to economies of scale and also add value to Africa’s abundant natural resources and promote economic diversification and industrialisation”.

He stated that 90 per cent tariff liberalisation had been adopted as the level of ambition for trade in goods for both developing and least developed countries, explaining that “the additional 10 per cent of tariff liberalisation is composed of 7 per cent sensitive products and 3 per cent exclusive products”.

The Trade and Industry Minister further said that special concession had been granted to Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe to liberalise over 15 years.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Sunday selected Ghana as the host country for the Secretariat of AfCFTA.

The decision was announced at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, Niger, after Ghana beat-off competition from Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal.

Primarily, the Secretariat is charged with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has been ratified by 27 member states.