SMEs advised to take advantage of Continental Free Trade Agreement
Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has urged Small and Medium Enterprises to take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) to market their products and be competitive in the global market.
Ghana in March, 2018, signed the agreement to boost economic growth across the continent.
The deal was signed by representatives of 44 of the 55 African Union member states after its formal launch in Kigali, Rwanda, at an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
Mr Ahenkorah said the agreement is the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, urging Ghanaian businesses to maximise the full benefit of the agreement for economic growth.
Mr Ahenkorah gave the advice on Thursday at a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Breakfast Meeting in Accra organised by the SME Ghana Awards and Vodafone Business Solutions.
The event was on the theme: “Advancing the Continental Free Trade Agreement: The Role of Value Chain Actors in Ghana”.
The forum was part of the 5th anniversary of the SME Ghana Awards established to motivate and reward the achievements of businesses across the various sectors and individuals of entrepreneurial excellence.
The Deputy Minister stressed that the agreement, targeted at creating a single continental market for goods and services, would open up the over one billion African market to Ghanaian businesses.
He noted that the agreement once established will commit countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later, and as well liberalise trade in services.
He was of the view that an increase in trade was the surest way to develop successful relations between African countries, translating into a rapid increase in exchanges of agricultural, financial, industrial, scientific and technological products, for economic prosperity.
Mr Patrick Fiscian, the Managing Director, Heritage Bank advised SMEs to engage the services of professionals to develop a business plan for their organisation, since it helps to define their vision, mission and objective for growth and sustenance.
He said the Bank was committed to supporting SMEs to grow their businesses and tasked them to take advantage of the free market trade to maximise its benefits.
Mr Jerry John Kai Quarshie, Head of SME Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited, said their outfit was ready to support any efforts by SMEs to expand beyond the borders of the country to be internationally competitive.
He urged SMEs to take advantage of the digital world and make good use of social media to advertise their services since its one of the cost effective channel to sell their products globally.
Ghanaian businesses has lauded the signing of the agreement and pledged their support to implement the Free Trade policy to the benefit of all and sundry.
According to them, the agreement would bring about enhanced market opportunities, legal certainty and predictability for service suppliers to enter and operate in another party’s market.