Mr Anthony Baafi Nyame, a Senior Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Trade and Industry , says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a potential game changer for Africa.
He said, “Africans must therefore not take this window of opportunity lightly created by the AfCFTA.”!
Mr Baafi was speaking at the maiden Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Dialogue Series in Accra.
The dialogue series with support from the Federal Government of Germany and the Government of Norway, was on the theme, “The AfCFTA and the Private Sector: Towards Effective Development and Sustainable Peace”.
The event held virtually, sought to foster strategic partnership between the KAIPTC and the private sector in order to explore opportunities for joint initiatives in the field of governance, peace, security and development.
Topics discussed include the impact of AfCFTA on the private sector and the overall quest for long-term peace and development.
The dialogue provides the opportunity for participants to examine the prospective impact of the AfCFTA on the private sector in Ghana as well as ways to ensure effective dispute resolution and cohesion within states and in the business community towards sustainable peace and development.
It also focused on the opportunities the AfCFTA provides for private sector growth in Ghana as well as the security risks that could threaten the success of the AfCFTA.
He said it was the private sector facilitated and actively supported by the Government that should be at the vanguard of the transformation.
He said the Government was resolved and committed to the operationalization of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana and to accelerate industrial transformation for inclusive economic growth.
“Ghana’s overriding objective is to position itself as the new manufacturing and services hub on the African continent,” he said.
He said as the country aggressively pursued these objectives, it was an opportune time to pay attention to the peace and security dimensions in order to sustainably harvest the full range of development dividends.
The Technical Advisor said the Government would continue to work effectively to support the private sector to build a vibrant, diversified and inclusive Trade and Industrial base for achieving sustainable peace and prosperity.
Major-General Francis Ofori, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, said the Centre had been nurturing the idea of moving its stakeholder engagement processes to a new level, advancing into non-traditional areas of engagement, especially with the private sector, amongst others.
He said the movement was to dialogue on topical issues and formulate recommendations that would inform relevant peace and security-related policies and strategies on the Continent.
He said the maiden event was in pursuit of the Centre’s Strategic Objective five, of its 5-Year Strategic Plan currently in its third year, which enjoined them to engage the private sector, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders to explore opportunities and jointly implement initiatives of mutual interest and benefit.
The Commandant said the choice of the theme was based on the recognition that there was a good nexus between business and development on one hand and the peace and security” we all yearn for.”
He said businesses thrived in peaceful and secured environments so the objective of this Stakeholder Dialogue with the private sector was to reflect on the role of the private sector in fostering peace and security in Ghana and on the Continent.
“This is also in the quest to bridge the gap between development and the private sector as well as deepen knowledge and appreciation of contemporary issues around the relationship between trade, development and peace and security in Africa,” he added.
Dr Yaw Adu-Gymafi, the President of the AGI, thanked the governments of Germany and Norway for their support and commitment to the dialogue series.
He said the AGI valued the recognition given to them as a private sector Association to promote peace and security.
He said a good number of their members were now beginning to appreciate the role of KAIPTC in business development.
The AGI president said indeed business could not strive in an inappropriate environment, hence the Centre had a role to work assiduously with the private sector to make sure that whatever they planned to do would be done together in the interest of the nation.
He said a number of fragile economies continued to experience threats of insecurity, which were the major challenges to foreign direct investments.
He said AfCFTA came with various opportunities but could also become counterproductive if the drivers of conflict were allowed to prevail.