Mr David Ofosu-Dorte, a Senior Partner at AB and David Law, Wednesday advised Ghanaians businesses to enhance their competitiveness in order to maximise the benefits from the African Free Continental Trade Area (AFCFTA).
“Business Competiveness means having low cost of power with competitive price, tariff free and duty free exports, quality goods and services, good market share in local and international and political competitiveness,” he explained.
“Being competitive means adding value to our raw resources, which would inure to our benefits to be able to up-scale and create the needed employment for the teeming youth in Africa”.
Mr Ofosu-Dorte said this in Accra at an event to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Africa Industrialization Day. It was held under the theme: “Positioning African Industries to Supply the AFCFTA Market”.
Agriculture accounts for 15 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product, with the sector projected to generate about $100 billion per annum.
Under the free trade market system, the urban food market is expected to also generate $150 billion by 2030.
Mr Ofosu-Dorte, therefore, encouraged the private sector to take advantage of the Free Trade to position their products in the emerging markets, stressing that trade was largely done by the private sector, while the government’s role was more of a regulator.
Africa had become a strategic location for other continents to do businesses, he said, adding that it was imperative for African countries to also have a strategic direction on trade related policies to take advantage of the free market.
The operationalisation of the free market would lead to larger market, duty free exports, value addition opportunities and integrated Africa businesses for socio-economic development.
Countries such as Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Botswana, Algeria, Kenya, Egypt and Namibia are among the most competitive countries who are prepared to take advantage of the markets.
Mr Ofosu-Dorte urged businesses to upgrade the quality and standards of their products and work to expand production to be competitive and meet other markets within the continent.
“We need the political competitiveness of industry,” he stated. “The private sector must lobby government to fully gain from the benefits associated with free trade markets”.
Mr Patrick Nimo, the Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, for his part said the free trade system would increase intra-Africa trade and address the fragmented nature of the market by removing barriers such as tariffs that inhibit the free movement of goods.
“To harness the full benefits of the system, member states are required to implement programme of actions, including trade policy, trade finance, trade information and market integration”.
Ghana, he said, had started with interventions such as the ‘One District- One Factory, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Custom Management Reforms to industrialise its produce for sustained growth.
Ms Rukia Yacoub, the UN Resident Coordinator, said her outfit would support governments to ensure a successful trade facilitation spearheaded by Ghana.
She urged the government to create the enabling environment to attract foreign investors, make businesses thrive and as well as enhance domestic revenue.