Parliament has commended Ghana for winning the bid to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It said the country’s peace and stability, enabling laws and policies, smooth political transitions, hospitable citizens and existing facilities propelled the country to win the bid.
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, in a statement on the Floor of Parliament noted that, the AfCFTA, which has been under discussions for quite some time has continued to generate interests and has increased in importance as more and more stakeholders realize the value and potential it holds.
The AfCFTA is expected to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
It is also estimated to expand Intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization, across Africa in general.
It is anticipated to resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional continental integration processes.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also stated that the acceptance of the country’s bid to host the secretariat of AfCFTA is worthy of note in the history of Ghana and Africa at large.
He said it was pleasant to see progress in the objective to unify the African continent in all of its resources, with a sincere aim to improve the lives of the people of Africa, provide more opportunities and promote peace and harmony.
He said AfCFTA comes with economic benefits such as employment creation, capital inflows, influx of goods and services, and a boost of the tourism industry.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also stated that Africa’s trade has grown rapidly in recent decades, that between 1990 to 2017, the region’s trade openness increased from about 53per cent of GDP to 67 per cent, as commodity prices surged.
He said the UNCTAD reported that intra-African trade is a mere 15 per cent of the total trade volumes generated from the African continent, compared to areas abroad which are as high as 61per cent in Asia, 67per cent in Europe, and 47 per cent in the Americas.
He said the while the overall intra-African trade is miniscule, studies by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that about 42per cent of intra-African trade consists of industrial goods, interpreting this to be a good potential for the sustainability of the AfCFTA as it is expected to grow.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also commended President Nana Akufo Addo for providing reasons why Ghana is the ideal place to site the headquarters and that Ghana through the ages continued to play a pivotal role in the unity of Africa.
He said this shows Ghana’s commitment for the success of the AfCFTA and its interest to sustain it.
Mr Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East, in a contribution, commended the nation for winning the bid to host the AfCFTA Secretariat, which is expected to create a large market space for business persons to the advantage of on the continent.
He therefore charged Government to put in place the necessary measures to ensure that Ghanaian business persons are able to benefit from the Free Trade Area.
Rev John Ntim-Fordjour, MP for Assin South, noted that, the creating of a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of business and investments would create opportunities for the people.
He said the selection of Ghana to host the AfCFTA secretariat attest to the country’s believe in the rule of law and the history of peace and stability.