Africa needs adequate professionals in trade law and policy to benefit from multilateral trade to improve on economic growth.
Mr Isaac Hubert Arthur, the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for International Trade and Development (ACINTaD), said there was also the need for capacity building in those areas.
A release he signed, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said: “We need more trade lawyers and policy analysts in the country to support with trade negotiations at the various levels.”
Quoting the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report, he said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was expected to boost intra-African trade by 33 per cent once full tariff liberalisation was implemented.
This would attract additional intra-African investments and create market opportunities to foster industrialisation through regional value chains.
Mr Arthur said if the AfCFTA was implemented, it had a potential of generating $6.5 trillion by 2030 but the lack of adequate capacity was a major threat to its success.
He said it was also important to strengthen institutions, which were weak and made implementation of signed and ratified agreements challenging.
“For Ghana to successfully implement the AfCFTA, we must strengthen the relevant MDAs and allow them to function effectively without any political interferences,” he said.
That, he said, was crucial because institutions helped to create the enabling environment for trade to flourish.
“Unfortunately, no preliminary study was done to ascertain the potential impact of the AfCFTA on the private sector in Ghana, hence making it very vulnerable to competition within the continental single market.”
He called on the private sector to update their knowledge in the various aspects of trade law and trade policy to understand the potential impact of trade agreements on their businesses.
Civil society’s role in trade policy was also important to ensure equity, fairness, and accountability.
He said addressing those capacity gaps would go a long way to making Ghana, and in a broad sense Africa, ready for intra trade, being a tool in the sustainable development agenda.