Stakeholders in the business fraternity have been engaged on business opportunities and interventions provided by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), at a conference, in Damongo.
The conference was the third in a series of regional events, being organized jointly by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the National AfCFTA Coordination Office.
The conference, which was held on the theme “Empowering Ghanaian businesses to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA agreement under the framework of NEDS”, brought together relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors within the Savannah Region.
It was to enlighten participants on Ghana’s export development intervention aimed at empowering the private sector to take advantage of the benefits of the AfCFTA to boost the country’s trade with other African countries.
Mr Albert Kassim Diwura, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, giving an overview of the NEDS, said it was in line with Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda towards the promotion of export-led economy.
He said the NEDS was a 10-year policy document, which targeted Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) growth from $2.8 billion in 2020 to about $25.3 billion in the 10-year span.
He explained that the NEDS would build synergies with government’s flagship programmes, including; 1 District 1 Factory (1D1F), Planting for Food and Jobs and Planting for Export and Rural Development among others, to ensure value addition of products for exports.
“It is expected that each district in Ghana should develop at least one exportable product that will provide the needed raw materials to feed the ever-expanding numbers of factories being established under the (1D 1F)”, Mr Diwura added.
Dr John-Hawkins Asiedu, Technical Advisor, Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones at the MoTI, noted that the AfCFTA agreement would start in January 2021, and said it would expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade within the African continent.
He projected that if all the 54-member African countries executed the AfCFTA, there was going to be an increase in intra-African trade by $35 billion per year or 52 per cent by 2022.
He explained that the AfCFTA was a single duty-free and quota-free market covering the entire African Continent-made up of 55 countries, with a total population of 1.2 billion and a combined GDP of USD 3 trillion.
Mr Iddrisu Sumani, Co-ordinator of FortuneAid Limited, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the engagement had broadened his knowledge-base on the initiatives, and added that, he would take advantage of the interventions to boost production to increase income.
“The engagement has come at the right time and I will encourage everyone to get onboard and exploit the benefits the AfCFTA and NEDS have for us so that we can collectively achieve the industrial transformation vision of government”, he noted.