Stakeholders at a forum has called for more education on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement for the benefit of indigenous businesses.
They said the Ghana National Coordinating Office of AfCFTA under the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the AfCFTA Secretariat needed to provide education on the operations of AFCFTA.
Mr Augustine B. Kidisil, a Lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, said many SMEs were not taking advantage of the Agreement because they did not understand it.
Mr Kidisil was speaking at a forum organised by ActionAid Ghana together with the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) on the AfCFTA operationalisation for Decent Work in Accra.
The forum was on the theme: “AfCFTA Agreement and Regional Economic Integration Reflections and Opportunities for Decent Work and Human Security.”
The event funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, was to provide a platform for Civil Society Organisations to engage campaigns and advocacy against modern slavery, indecent work, and human insecurity.
It was also to provide a platform for deliberation on the impact of the AfCFTA Agreement for the acceleration of regional economic value chains and its implication on decent work practices and human security.
Trading under AfCFTA started in earnest on January 1, 2021, after negotiations were launched on June 15, 2015.
He said the educational activities should focus on the procedures, processes, and protocols of the Agreement.
The Lecturer said every participating Member State needed to design its own strategies and mechanisms to take advantage of opportunities in the Agreement.
Madam Mary Agyekum, Senior Legal Officer at AfCFTA Secretariat, said the Secretariat had established an adjustment fund to support countries and institutions affected by the implementation of the Agreement.
She said one of the key challenges to the implementation was infrastructural gap, because Member States were at various developmental stages.
Mr John Nkaw, the Interim Country Director for ActionAid Ghana, said the forum was also to collaborate with the AfCFTA Secretariat to safeguard the rights and dignity of the vulnerable in an integrated regional economy.
He said it was expected that key stakeholders would obtain an improved understanding of the AfCFTA Agreement and its likely impact on the regional economic value chain.
Mr Nkaw said decent work was under the ActionAid Ghana Mission Priority two of the Country Strategy Paper Six.
The Country Director said the advocacy hinged on human right-based approach and from a feminist leadership perspective to tackle structural causes and manifestations of poverty and injustice.
He said although significant efforts towards eliminating indecent work practices had been made by the human trafficking secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other stakeholders, “we have more work to do to ensure that Ghana meets this target.”
Mr Nkaw said it was important attention was paid to the prospects of AfCFTA to streamline fair work practices, anti-human trafficking and anti-modern slavery activities and systems across the continent.