An AfCFTA Consultant, with Frontier Market Advisors, Dode Seidu, has called on the private sector and entrepreneurs to embrace the opportunity that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents for them.
Speaking on Eye on Port, he said that it is crucial for private sector to be proactive when it comes to seeking out new markets and commencing trading actions.
“Attempt to understand the market, the requirements and what it would take to enter these markets and if at any step of your process you do not understand, you regroup. Do not sit and be skeptical. If you are a business person who has been able to take advantage of the Ghanaian market and you have a unique product duly registered, get ready for AfCFTA and do not sit on the fence,” he urged.
“There are certain sectors who have already seen the light. For example, businesses that are into high value manufacturing have already starting setting up business hubs in other parts of Africa,” he added.
The AfCFTA Consultant explained that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area was established to create structures that would enable cost-efficient free movement of goods and services, and it is up to traders themselves to drive the trade.
“AfCFTA has given us the opportunity to thrive in other markets, find those markets, find business partners and explore means of staying in those markets. AfCFTA is only reducing the barriers that would hitherto disable you from doing so. So attend fairs, be proactive.”
He urged traders to make use of institutions available at their disposal for the necessary information pertaining the AfCFTA.
Mr. Dode Seidu said “we have the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, we have the embassies of the various countries here, and they have trade attaches. The AfCFTA itself has the MANSA repository and AfCFTA Trade Observatory. These are all tools to help us. Take advantage of those institutions whose job is to facilitate trade. We have to knock on their doors, find out what opportunities there are and use them.”
Dode Seidu touched on the benefits of tariff reductions on AfCFTA trading.
He said while in the interim, countries may have to concede revenue losses from direct taxes from import duties and tariffs, the positives far outweigh such losses, especially for the private sector.
According to him, the tariff reductions will enable traders cut cost when it comes to the total cost of trading across countries.
He said it will enable goods traded within Africa to be competitive.
The AfCFTA Consultant revealed that 43 out of 54 African countries have ratified the agreement and reached 88% agreement on the rules of origin.