A man sits outside the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat office in Accra, capital of Ghana, August 17, 2020. Ghanaian President on Monday handed over the edifice housing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to the African Union (AU) for the commencement of work. (Ghana Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)

Mr Ernest Bediako Sampong, the Chief Executive of Ernest Chemist, says the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create more employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.

He said new markets would help manufacturers increase employment due to the high demand for products.

Mr Sampong, speaking at the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce Industry (GNCCI) virtual sensitisation seminar on AfCFTA in Accra, said AfCFTA was a laudable idea but, “I do not think it is going to be easy.”

He said it was not going to be easy because of the attitude of Africans towards products that were manufactured on the continent, especially Ghana.

Mr Sarpong said the industry was going to experience the transfer of technology with international pharmaceutical companies setting up plants and factories in Africa and creating employment opportunities.

The event was organised by GNCCI in partnership with Joy Business and the Ghana Shippers Authority on the theme: “AfCFTA: Adopting the right business strategies to fully benefit.”

It was aimed at sensitizing small scale businesses on how they could strategise to benefit from the Agreement.

He said there would be opportunities for some multinationals to also collaborate with existing companies to enable them export to the sub-region.

Mr Sarpong said there was going to be a possibility of medicine security and a boost in industrial investment and called for workable policies and a free will for the policies to be implemented, adding that government should try and harmonise policies and systems in doing business in Ghana.

The CEO urged government to support the private sector to develop their businesses to contribute to the development of the economy.

”We urge government to waive taxes on equipment used for manufacturing.”

Mr Anthony Nyame Baafi, a Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said government through the Ministry had set up institutional structures to support the implementation of the Agreement.

“We have the inter-ministerial, the national AfCFTA Secretariat to provide information to everybody, who wants access any information,” he said.

He said arrangements were in place to ensure the Member States take advantage of the Agreement, stressing that the government needed the private sector to partake in the implementation of the Agreement and if there were any challenges, the Ministry and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority were ready to assist.

Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, said it was an opportunity to partner with the GNCCI to educate the private sector on how to maximise the benefits of AfCFTA.

“It is all about education and sensitisation, so at the end of it, we will go across the nation to ensure that our stakeholders fully understand and take advantage of this all-important concept,” she said.

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