The Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFIC) in partnership with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) will a host dialogue on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on October 27.
The AfCFTA dialogue is also in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) to raise awareness, empower and encourage all Member States to take actions necessary to build the logistics and the infrastructure critical for the successful outcome of the Free Trade.
Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, AMA Chief Executive Officer speaking at a press conference to announce a new date for the 4th GITFIC event postponed from April 9-10, 2020 due to COVID-19 to October 27 and 28.
The dialogue is on the theme: “Optimizing AfCFTA for Africans: The Role of Logistics Infrastructure.”
The event is intended to display the urban economic resilience of Accra in particular and Ghana as a whole in the face of a global pandemic that has ravaged most economies.
He said the event seeks to discuss the details of preparations being made by Members States of the African Union in building up the necessary logistics and infrastructure identified as the main challenge in implementing the Protocols of the AfCFTA.
Mr Adjei said through the medium of the conference: “we also hope to alert corporate Ghana in particular and Africa in general about the networking and investment opportunities the AfCFTA will create in Africa and to empower the private sector take advantage of those opportunities.”
He said the City of Accra has deep historical roots in commerce and has always remained a major trading center in Africa; “Our City is well equipped with the infrastructure, governance framework and the markets required to provide the leadership in AfCFTA implementation.”
The CEO said over the years, Accra has developed the right policies and enabling environment to represent both an investment destination and gateway to the African markets.
He said it would also enable participants to learn about the preparedness of sister African Countries for the commencement of trade in January 2021.
“We will learn about trade barriers and restrictions, which will be lifted through the commencement of the AfCFTA and market opportunities it can create for your businesses in an enhanced African supply chain,” he said.
Mr Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, the Association of Ghana Industries Accra Chairman and Head of Industries, said Ghana needs to position itself well enough to protect its local industries with the coming in force of the AfCFTA.
He said this was because “we will wake up one day and Ghana will be flooded with products that are cheap and we will be helpless.”
He said the government needed to put in place measures to make the Ghanaian market competitive and suggested that the government looks to industries like textiles, salt, and pharmaceuticals as possible launching pads.
He called on businesses to get ready and take advantage of the implementation of the AfCFTA, indicating that they should leverage on technology infrastructure and e-commerce to expand.
On regulatory framework, Mr Akpeloo said all laws must be harmonized with international laws together with standardization.
Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer of GITFIC said the conference would be educative, be directive, be authoritative and most importantly, it would expose participants to all there is to know on the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He said speakers on the 4th Conference would be from diverse technical fields from more than five countries including Nigeria, Gambia, Sudan, Morocco, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
The CEO said the conference would border on the important and delicate sub-themes including physical connectivity, digital connectivity, infrastructure deficits, tariff reforms, non-tariff reforms, port Harmonization, and a single continental payment harmonization system.
Other are a single continental digital platform, a harmonized trading platform for Member States, a harmonized continental cybersecurity system, and standardization of Member State trading protocols.