President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says his government is fully committed to making investments in trade-related infrastructure, as well as enhancing the country’s production capacity, in order to reap the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said government’s initiatives such as the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy, the development of strategic anchor industries such as the integrated bauxite industry, the aluminium and iron industry and the vehicle assembly plants, as well as the establishment of industrial parks and the programme for agricultural renewal and enhancement, would serve as the fulcrum for the speedy realisation of the country’s industrialisation agenda.
“It is this transformation that will give us the best opportunity to derive maximum benefits from our abundant natural resources and from our participation in the AfCFTA and help bring progress and prosperity to our people”, he added.
The President made these statements at the conference on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra yesterday.
The conference brought together key stakeholders to discuss the strategies and programme interventions required to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.
The President noted that government continues to make strategic investments in trade-related infrastructure to ensure that the private sector and indigenous companies are well equipped to effectively compete on the international trade market.
He added that “the ongoing expansion of the Tema Port, which upon completion will make it one of the biggest ports in Africa, the Takoradi Port expansion, as well as the development of numerous road projects and railway networks are all testaments of government’s resolve to leverage new market opportunities on the continent”.
President Nana Addo urged the private sector to take advantage of the agreements under the AfCFTA to expand production both in industry and agriculture and take the lead in the socio-economic transformation of the country.
He pledged that government will assist the process by fashioning and implementing a comprehensive set of policies that will empower the private sector to achieve its goals.
“Our whole objective is to unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of the Ghanaian private sector to drive rapid growth and job creation.”
He noted that the coming into force and the successful implementation of the AfCFTA ties in perfectly with his government’s vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid and a shift towards a self-reliant nation free from the mindset of dependence, charity and handouts to one that is determined to make intelligent and disciplined use of her natural resources as the basis for growth and prosperity.
“This vision can be better realised if we can leverage the trade and investment opportunities the AfCFTA presents.”
He bemoaned the fact that although Ghana, like many other African countries, is blessed with abundance of natural resources, she has not been able to translate it into the much-needed growth and desired development.
In furtherance of the objectives to maximise the benefits of the AfCFTA, however, the President said government’s first order of business must be ensuring the maintenance of macroeconomic stability to facilitate the growth of the Ghanaian economy.
He noted that his government has over the last two-and-a-half years been able to restore to normalcy, key economic indicators that were in disarray before assumption of office.
“We have restored fiscal discipline and we are managing the economy in a manner that will guarantee pragmatism in mobilising and deploying national resources. An efficiently managed economy, together with continuous creation of a business-friendly climate, will be essential towards driving investments, stimulating growth and creating jobs.”
Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen said the African continent has finally woken up from a long slumber with the AfCFTA, a major step towards the realisation of the dream for a single market that will propel the economic emancipation of the continent.
He was of a firm belief that a single market will go a long way to propel intra-African trade and expedite the rapid development of the continent.
He, however, cautioned that the benefits of this market will not came automatically as it will require conscious interventions to allow each country reap the full benefits.
The conference, he said, offers Ghana the opportunity to work with the private sector to put the country on a firm path to economic prosperity and a country without aid.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, in his remarks, underscored the need to strengthen collaboration with other states on the continent to chart the right path for enhanced trade.
He said the AfCFTA presents an opportunity to harness the collective strength of the continent and share experiences for rapid socio-economic development.
Additionally, there would be the need to formulate pragmatic policies to minimise the negative effects that may arise from activities under AfCFTA .
A representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Joseph Atta- Mensah emphasised the need for African countries to remove all trade barriers to benefit from trade among member states.
Source: The Finder