Since the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 1, 2021, African countries have been racing in various directions to make the Agreement a reality – and so on Monday August 29, 2022, the Ghana government launched the AfCFTA Hub, a digital platform to facilitate trade on the continent.
The Hub is a “concept in Ghana to promote, enhance and advance digital trading, electronic commerce, and e-marketplace transactions in general,” according to the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation. It will also provide a unique number for entities to facilitate security in trade.
The lead agencies involved, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC), say the launch of the Hub is in furtherance of the government’s digitization agenda.
The Ministry indicates further that the Hub is an initiative involving the AfCFTA Secretariat and several governments, with AfroChampions and its private sector backers providing technology and policy support.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said, Ghana has a strong ambition to not just become a digital entrepot for regional trade but also an active shaper of the business innovation landscape.
Citing Ghana’s ongoing economic crisis, she said the current fiscal issues facing Ghana, linked indelibly to the still lingering pandemic and the protracted Russia-Ukraine conflict, have many linkages to trade.
“Much of the inflation now plaguing Ghana found its way here through trade. The forex problem facing us today is a problem only because of trade. Trade is both our making and our unmaking,” she said.
The Minister indicated that initially, the Hub will start with young entrepreneurs, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), startups and all digital marketplace actors across the country and they will obtain a free AfCFTA Number.
“The AfCFTA Number is the powerful seed of a single continental trust-building system that will complement other AfCFTA-enabling instruments such as the PAPSS, MANSA, Digital Green Corridor and e-Tariff mechanisms developed by the AfCFTA Secretariat, African Union, the 4D Consortium and trusted partners like Afreximbank and AfroChampions. With the AfCFTA number, Ghanaian enterprises will obtain a sure and secure navigational tool as well as a trusted profile to speed up connections across the continent for business.
Together with the AfCFTA Common Transaction ID, the AfCFTA Number will also serve critical anti-fraud and crime-fighting purposes domestically and regionally,” she said.
In his remarks the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke said liberalization and its risks are of concern to industrialists. He also expressed concern about dumping and so on.
He noted that “SMEs provide 80 per cent of jobs in Africa,” and pledged the cooperation and support of the AGI.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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