Ghana is to host the 4th edition of the Ghana International Conference on Trade and Finance (GITFIC) on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in April 2020.
Mr. Selasi Koffi Ackom, the Chief Executive Officer of GITFIC, who told the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, said the Conference, dubbed: "The AfCFTA Edition" would assemble high profile delegates in Trade and Finance from across the continent to address various areas of the African Free Trade Area.
These include Physical Connectivity, Digital Connectivity and Logistics Infrastructure. The interview was a follow to a closed door meeting the GIFTIC boss held with Mr Albert Muchanga, the Trade and Industry Commissioner of the African Union, in Accra.
The two-day conference would be held under the theme: "Optimising AfCFTA for Africans; the Role of Logistics Infrastructure". The Conference is expected to host up to five panel sessions each day, with speakers being tasked with apt topics to discuss, educate and inform participants.
There will also be sessions for selected Ambassadors from some African Embassies in Ghana. Additionally, there will be a media session for top media practitioners from selected media houses across the continent to examine and discuss their core role in ensuring the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.
The Steering Committee of GITFIC, Mr Ackom said, believed that the contribution of logistics infrastructure was key in achieving a single Trade Market for Africa. "The pivot of AfCFTA will largely depend on Logistics.
Most Member States, if not all, already have their various peculiar Logistics Challenges one way or the other. Therefore, synchronising Free Trade without adequately finding sustainable solutions for Logistics may render the entire idea unachievable.
"Twenty-eight countries have ratified the agreement so far, and this single Continental Trade is valued at eight trillion dollars, making it one of the biggest in the world. This is a serious business, therefore, all critical and pertinent issues must be seriously looked at and addressed," he emphasised.
The Committee, he said, was working closely with the Trade and Industry Commissioner of the African Union to ensure that it brought to Accra all top chief executives, traders, business persons, importers and exporters, manufacturers and industry players, among others, to be informed and adequately briefed on all the opportunities that AfCFTA could offer them and the continent at large.
On the Ghanaian side, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen, was working assiduously to ensure that the goal of AfCFTA was realised.
Mr. Ackom said the Secretariat for AfCFTA was ready for work to start. "The Secretary General will be appointed in February 2020 and four floors at the Trade House is ready, adequately furnished and equipped to serve this purpose," he said.
The Secretariat, he said, was expected to be opened for business in March 2020, while Continental Trading was expected to commence in July 2020.