African Leaders Urged To Quicken Continental Free Trade

Participants at the Local Assemblies' leadership workshop
Participants at the Local Assemblies' leadership workshop

African political leaders have been urged to move quickly on the continental free trade area (CFTA) negotiations.

Heads of States and business leaders attending Africa 2016

Mr. Anthony Nyame-Baafi, Director of Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said this was vital because the benefits would be tremendous.

He indicated that it was going to stimulate private sector growth – to expand and take advantage of the huge market that would be created.

The CFTA aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the continental customs union and the African customs union.

Additionally, it would enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources

The CFTA will bring together 54 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US$3.4 trillion.

Mr. Nyame-Baafi, addressing a three-day workshop for members of the inter-institutional committee (IIC) in Koforidua, stated that Ghana stood to gain substantially from the trade deal, given its competitive edge over many African countries, when it came to the export of goods and services.

The goal was to sensitize and share information to allay any anxieties, to achieve a national consensus, particularly on specific trade and related matters so as to protect, preserve and promote the collective national interest at the on-going CFTA negotiations, expected to be concluded by the close of the year.

The workshop also deliberated on the recent ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the Ghana-European Union interim Economic Partnership Agreement.

Mr. Nyame-Baafi underlined the need to boost intra-Africa trade, which currently stood at 10 to 12 per cent and said for the continent to achieve customs union, it should move beyond the current levels.

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