The Borderless Alliance, a private sector advocacy group, in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, has held a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The multi-stakeholder dialogue was to highlight the opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of the ETLS and AfCFTA for governments and businesses across the continent.
The event featured an overview of the AfCFTA and an update on its progress so far, as well as a presentation about the challenges preventing Ghanaian businesses from accessing the West African market using ETLS.
Representatives of private enterprises, think tanks, civil society organizations, private associations, ministries and government agencies took part in an engaging dialogue on how to enable a more conducive business environment in Ghana, in order to position the country as the true commercial hub, not only of West Africa, but the entire continent.
According to the National President of Borderless Alliance – Ghana, Ziad Hamoui, who expressed excitement over the African Continental Free Trade Area also acknowledged that there are many responsibilities and challenges that need to be addressed in order to reap the full benefit from its implementation.
“Even within the ECOWAS Free Trade Movement of goods and people you know there has been some issues with security in the Sahelian regions so we have to keep our minds and eyes opened about the need to balance compliance and prosperity against security,” he asserted.
Charles Ntiri, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the GNCCI issues certificates of origin for products in the country for trade across the borders.
He said to address challenges surrounding the acquisition of this certificate, his outfit has improved upon its issuance of the certificate of origin in order to make their services more accessible so Ghanaians can take full advantage of the ETLS.
“Earlier we were issuing the certificate of origin manually, companies complained because they had to travel long distances and then waste time to get their certificates. Hence, we have done this electronically, where companies can sit in their offices, apply, pay online and then we will approve it,” he revealed.
Bashiru Abdul-Haki, a Freight and Logistics Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority outlining some trade challenges that has come to the attention of the Shippers Authority revealed how efforts to mitigate the impediment of police barriers across the corridor have not been fully actualized.
“A lot of times when these drivers are stopped, they are stopped in very obscure places, and exposed to a lot of danger. Recently an incident happened involving some of our drivers around the Sahelian Area, they were just stopped like that and unfortunately there was an attack,” he bemoaned.