Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, Director-General, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has tasked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive at the local level.
He said it would also position local businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and create more jobs for the country’s teeming youth.
Speaking at the launch of an AfCFTA Trade Guideline for local authorities in Accra, on Wednesday Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the private sector played a critical role in the development agenda of every nation, contributing substantially to national economic development.
He said creating a conducive environment would enable them to increase their production capacities and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The guideline is to enable MMDA to unlock their potentials and harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It also seeks to deepen the integration of local economies into the regional market and boost their trade performance and enhance planning capacities at the local level for effective participation in AfCFTA, as well as help local authorities not only to better understand and leverage the AfCFTA but also to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in their jurisdiction to fully benefit from the agreement.
It was developed by the NDPC through consultative processes with stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), the AfCFTA Secretariat with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The AfCFTA is the African free trade area with an estimated market size of 1.3 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3 trillion USD, projected to reach 6.5 trillion by 2030.
Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the Commission would support the MMDAs to identify their respective comparative advantage and position them to harness the potential of the agreement.
He said: “MMDAs must be well positioned economically to unlock their potentials because they represent a fertile jurisdiction for effective implementation of the AfCFTA.
Mr Udo Etukudo, Economic Advisor at UNDP, said the UNDP would support Ghana to integrate and fully operationalise the AfCFTA at all policy levels.
“UNDP understands that for Ghana to benefit fully from the AfCFTA, there is the need to prioritize MSMEs capacity development. MSMEs also need enabling policies for growth and require value addition to compete and penetrate the African and international markets.
It is therefore critical to introduce and create awareness of the AfCFTA at the local government level. This will facilitate the integration of local businesses into national and regional markets,” he said.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has projected that the AfCFTA will increase the value of intra-African exports between 15 per cent (or $50 billion) and 25 per cent (or $70 billion), depending on liberalisation efforts by 2040.
Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, reiterated government‘s commitment to take advantage of the AfCFTA to ensure socio-economic transformation of the country, adding that government hoped to leverage on the agreement to address the youth unemployment situation.
Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, immediate past President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commended the NDPC for the initiative, saying this would improve business operation at the local level.
Trading under the AfCFTA officially commenced on January 1, 2021.