Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen has announced the benefits Ghana stands to gain for hosting African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat covering the entire African continent with a total population of 1.2 billion and a combined GDP of almost USD 3 trillion.
Explaining the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Trade and Industry Minister said it is a single market with duty-free and quota-free for all member countries; reiterating that so far 54 countries out of 55 with the exception of Eritrea have signed the AfCFTA and 27 countries have ratified the agreement.
Briefing the media at the Ministry of Information Press Conference, Mr. Alan Kyerematen indicated that AfCFTA is the most significant development in Africa since the establishment of Organization of African Union (OAU) in 1963; thus, it is considered as the flagship project under the AU Agenda 2063.
He again said it is the world’s largest Free Trade Area, second only to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in terms of the number of member states.
Enumerating the benefits thereof for Ghana for hosting the secretariat, Mr. Kyerematen mentioned that “Ghana will base on this opportunity to be the new commercial capital for Africa, however the new gateway to the continent.”
“If Ghana is the secretariat of free trade in the entire continent, then it means that if we can put things in order, we will become the trading hub or the commercial center at the level of the country."
“Ghana can also attract investors due to the fact that Ghana host the secretariat of the entire African continent free trade and so if someone from America wants to look for a country to invest, it stands to reason that the person will come to Ghana where the secretariat is so that after setting up their factory here, they can reach the whole of Africa through Ghana,” he stressed.
He was of the view that it will be better for investors to set up their factories in Ghana than in America where they have to pay duties before bringing the goods here, whereas they will pay no duty if the factories are set up here and aside, less competition.
Talking of other benefits for the country, the Trade and Industry Minister said the investors that will come here will pay taxes and also there will be a lot of jobs for Ghanaians apart from the secretariat itself which will create employment for the citizens.
“As we hopefully intend to establish 260 'one district, one factory' in the country, Ghana will have access to 1.2 billion markets to engage in free trade without paying any duties and this will help the country. As the headquarters will be in Ghana, meetings and conference will be done in the country and so the hotels will get businesses,” he underscored.
He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to take advantage of this opportunity of African Continental Free Trade Area to enhance and produce quality local products in order to sell in all the 1.2 markets. He also charged Ghanaians to engage in activities which are imported into the country like toothpicks which are imported from China to all the African countries.