Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, on Tuesday reiterated that Ghana has the right political and economic environment to host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) headquarters.
The AfCFTA is a road map agreed to by African leaders for the creation of a common African market to strengthen regional integration.
He said Ghana was on the frontline at the inception of the establishment of a single regional market years ago and continued to champion the realisation of the objective of AfCFTA.
Mr Kyeremanten said this when he welcomed an evaluation delegation from the African Union (AU) to Ghana. The team is in to assess the country’s readiness to host the AfCFTA headquarters that would be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement.
Madam Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, the AU Advisor on Regional Integration, is leading the 10-member delegation to conduct the assessment.
As part of the AfCFTA team’s evaluation, they are meeting the Ghana team including Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs who would make a formal presentation on the subject.
On 28 February 2019, the AU Commission invited the Member States to submit Letters of Expression of Interest to host the Secretariat and seven countries, namely: Ghana, Egypt, Eswatini, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia and Madagascar have submitted their bids.
Mr Kyeremanten said the establishment of a single market had always been the goal of African leaders and was supposed to be one of the building blocs for achieving Pan-African economic transformation.
He said the experience of most of the matured economies around the world including Asia, America and Europe attested to the fact that a single regional market was crucial to growth and development.
“It was at the back of the single market that the economies of these continents developed,” he added.
At the initial stages through to the run-up of the signing of the AfCFTA agreement at the AU Summit in 2012, he said, some leaders were skeptical that single market might not work due to the issues of lack of capacity of the countries to trade among themselves.
“Some leaders passed comments such as; are we all producing mono commodity, so is Ghana going to sell cocoa to Côte d’Ivoire or is Ethiopia going to sell its coffee to a coffee producing country,” he said.
“A study has shown that 46 per cent of the limited trade in the region was in the manufacturing sector but not raw materials. It also said Africa had already developed the infrastructure which can facilitate a single market.”
On her part, Madam Katungye said the AfCFTA was a catalyst for regional and continental integration and would propel Africa’s development.
From the interaction with the Ghanaian officials, she said the country had comprehensive knowledge about the task at hand and what the continent needed to develop.
She commended Ghana’s leadership for ensuring that the AfCFTA’s ideals were achieved to help improve the living condition of people in the continent.