The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has indicated that Ghana, through his administration, has laid the building blocks for the private sector to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This, the President explained, was done through the implementation of programmes and projects to boost industrialisation in Ghana.
These, he said, include the “One District One Factory” initiative; the development of new, strategic, anchor industries such as garments and textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobile assembly and component manufacturing; the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs; the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) initiative; the establishment of 67 Business Resource Centres, and 31 Technology Solution Centres; and the development of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones.
“I draw attention to these programmes and projects to reiterate the point that in Ghana, we have already laid the building blocks for our private sector to harness the benefits of AfCFTA,” he added.
Speaking at the 2nd National Conference on the African Continental Free Trade Area, held on Tuesday, 20th October 2020, at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo-Addo reaffirmed the government’s determination “to assist Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of AfCFTA.”
He also said the government would ensure that the required financial and human resources are mobilised and developed to make Ghana a new manufacturing hub and financial services centre for the African Continent.
With the collective desire for shared prosperity, he was confident that the AfCFTA would succeed, and generate a new impetus and dynamism for the rapid growth of Africa’s economies, and deepen the process of integration in Africa.
“Empowered Ghanaian enterprises should be frontline actors of this new, exciting journey in Africa’s economic history. We owe it to generations unborn to ensure that the biggest trading bloc on the globe, whose outcomes will be rewarding to all Africans, and which will assist in attaining the ‘Africa we want’, does not falter,” he added.
“We, in Ghana, cannot afford to let this window of opportunity slip. We hope that the private sector, facilitated and actively supported by government, will be at the forefront of trying to take advantage of the vast possibilities presented by the AfCFTA,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued: “Ghana, like many African countries, is blessed with an abundance of resources. However, over the years, we have not been able to translate our resource wealth into the much-needed growth and development we desire, leaving our economy still in a fragile and unfulfilled state. The AfCFTA provides an enormous potential for trade and investments across various sectors, which we must exploit.”
To take advantage of these opportunities, he explained that the government has, since his assumption of office in 2017, implemented various innovative and strategic interventions to promote and expand production and value addition.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng, in his remarks, stated that for Ghana to become a major exporting country, she needs bigger markets, reason the AfCFTA provides a better opportunity.
“Thirdly, in order for us to take advantage of AfCFTA, Ghana needs to diversify our export base. We can no longer continue to export only cocoa and gold and become an export-led economy…,” he added.
The Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, commended President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to the AfCFTA, through his government, since he arrived in Ghana some two months back.
He stated that he shares the vision of the African leaders to emancipate Africa from the shackles of colonial rule, and would work through the AfCFTA to achieve that.
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