Emmanuel Codjoe, Senior lecturer, Economics Department, University of Ghana, has called on organisations to think together and address potential risks to maximise the benefits of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Dr Codjoe said there was the need for bold, accountable, predictable and active policy implementation, which required government to play a key role in the successful implementation of the free trade system.
The Senior lecturer said this in Accra on Tuesday during a policy dialogue on the successful implementation of the AfCFTA organized by the National Development Planning Commission and the United Nations Development Programme.
Speaking on the topic: “ AfCFTA and Livelihood in Ghana”, Dr Codjoe said, maximizing the benefits of AfCFTA would require a sustained and long-term transformative investment in agriculture, manufacturing and services to create new ideas of comparative advantage and as well build a competitive advantage in the markets.
“These investments must focus in infrastructure, financial services, health and education, legal and accountancy, social and community services and security”, he said.
The aim of the AfCFTA was to create a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and investments.
It is also to boost intra-African trade from the current 15 per cent to about three to four times the current volumes over the next decade.
The free trade policy would contribute to spurring economic growth and as well attract investment from within Africa and the World.
Dr Codjoe said the future of trade policy direction must strike a balance between liberalisation and promotion of the private sector, calling for effective re-distributional policies to mitigate the downsides of AfCFTA.
He called for urgent need to actively encourage balanced growth across all sectors, with emphasis on employment creation, greater job security, improved incomes and reduced income inequality.
Dr Codjoe said the impact of AfCFTA on the Ghanaian economy would be mix of positives and negatives, focusing on services, agriculture and the industry sector.
He said the creation of a bigger market with reduced tariffs would offer expansion in competitive areas including agricultural activities, manufacturing, electricity and construction, transportation and education and health.
Dr Codjoe said areas that were at risk include trade, hotels and restaurants, professional administrative and support services.
Dr Claudia Rita Kumah, an Economist, Bank of Ghana, said government is committed to ensure a stable micro economy for a successful implementation of the free trade policy.
“We are committed to price stability and will implement measures to ensure that the currency is stable for businesses to thrive”, she said.
Mr Franklyn Ayensu Nyarko, Treasurer, Access Bank, said the bank has positioned itself to maximise the full benefits of the free trade system with its regional expansion to create enough capital for any possible risk.
He said the bank’s aim was to make trade financing cheaper for Small and Medium Enterprises to be competitive in the emerging markets.