Private sector will be the main focus of the CFTA – Nyame-Baafi
Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, the Director of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has said the interest of the private sector would be at the forefront in negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA).
He said: “In each of the various technical groups government will constitute to negotiate this Agreement, there would be private -sector representatives on board to tell us the reality on the ground and some of the challenges they encounter when exporting to other African countries.”
Mr Nyame-Baafi was speaking during at a three-day capacity building retreat for members of the Inter-Institutional Committee (IIC) on the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The workshop, funded by the Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme, was to apprise members of the committee on the on-going negotiations on CFTA, the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the European Union.
The engagement was intended as a sensitisation and information sharing exercise to calm the anxieties of stakeholders and achieve a national consensus, particularly on specific trade and related matters, so as to protect the collective national interest at the on-going CFTA expected to be concluded by December, 2017.
“The private sector will be the main implementers of this Agreement because in reality they are the ones that will be moving our exports across the continent,” he said.
In June 2015, African leaders launched negotiations to create the CFTA which aims at creating a comprehensive and mutually beneficial single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
It was also to resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
The Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, formed the Inter-Institutional Committee which comprises members from the Ghana Standards Authority, the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Ministry of Finance and the Veterinary Services Directorate among others.
The Committee, after the retreat, would recommend to government the way forward in addressing lingering issues agitating the minds of players within the business community.