President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed the government's commitment to put in place policies and programmes to leverage on the trade and investment opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
According to the President, the coming into force of the AfCFTA, the largest free trade area in the world, ties in perfectly with the government's vision of building a Ghana Beyond Aid.
President Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed the opening of a three-day National Conference on the implementation of the AfCFTA in Accra yesterday.
The conference brought together key stakeholders to discuss strategies and programme interventions required to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.
Ghana has been chosen by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA. The secretariat is expected to implement the AfCFTA Agreement of which 54 of the 55 African nations have signed onto, and has since been ratified by 25 AU member states.
The agreement will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion across the fifty-four (54) Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the agreement.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid would be better realised when policies and programmes aimed at harnessing the inherent benefits and opportunities in the AfCFTA were implemented by the government.
He said his administration had, over the past two and half years, prioritised the management of the macro-economic stability of the economy to facilitate growth, with the key indicators which were in disarray now pointing in the right direction.
"We've restored fiscal discipline and managed the economy in a manner that guarantees pragmatism in mobilising and deploying our national resources and efficiently managed the economy together with a continuous creation of a business-friendly atmosphere, essential to driving investments, stimulating growth and creating employment," he said.
President Akufo-Addo urged the private sector, especially players in industry and agribusiness, to take advantage of the agreements under the AfCFTA to expand production and take the lead in the socio-economic transformation of the country.
He gave the assurance that the government would assist the process by implementing a comprehensive set of policies that would empower the private sector to achieve its goals, adding, "Our whole objective is to unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of the Ghanaian private sector to drive rapid growth and job creation."
Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry said the AfCFTA was a major step towards the realisation of the dream for a single market that would propel the economic emancipation of the continent.
He was optimistic that the AfCFTA Agreement would propel intra-African trade and expedite the rapid development of the continent, but cautioned that the benefits of the single African market would not materialise automatically as it would require conscious interventions to allow each country reap the full profits.