African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat begins familiarization tour of local companies ahead of continental guided trade.
The AfCFTA Secretariat has commenced preparations towards the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, slated for September 26, 2022, with a familiarisation visit to three companies in the Western Region.
The Secretariat on July 25, 2022, unveiled the AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade involving Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia, to provisionally and commercially start trading under AfCFTA on pilot basis to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for trading under the agreement.
As part of preparations towards the take-off, the AfCFTA Secretariat in collaboration with Ghana's National Coordination Office and a team drawn from Ministry of Trade and Industry, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and a volunteered logistics company organised its first visit to three companies in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The visit was aimed at engaging management of the selected companies on their products, volumes of export, operations as well as knowledge about the AfCFTA
It is also to ascertain their level of interest in trading under the continental agreement and readiness to be part of the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative.
The18-member team whose first point of call was on the Western Regional Minister, was led by the head of the delegation, DrAtoPanford, who is the Senior Advisor in charge of Enterprise Audit with the Ghana National AfCFTA Coordination Office.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensa, applauded the initiative and the efforts being made to make the vision of creating a Single African Market a reality.
He commended the Secretariat particularly for choosing companies from the Western Region to be part of the historic AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative.
The delegation visited the Keda Ghana Ceramics Company Limited (Twyford), which is a leading tile manufacturing company in Africa, located in ShamaCity in Western Region.
The Managing Director of Lorry LiKeda, said that the company's raw materials were mainly from Ghana, and said the company was ready to trade under the AfCFTArules.
The Guided Trade Mission team also went to the Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd (GREL), which has 13,093 hectares of land planted with rubber and a total of 9,555 hectares under tapping.
With a significant market share in Egypt, GREL is hopeful to satisfy necessary requirements to enable them take part in the first guided trade shipment under the AfCFTA.
At Benso Oil Palm Plantation, a wholly Ghanaian company, which processes palm fruits into crude palm oil and listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange since 2004, the Executive Director of Finance of the company,Mr Benjamin Appiah-Manuh, described AfCFTA as the game changer.
The team visited the Port of Takoradi, Ghana's main export-led port, handling over 70 per cent of Ghana's export, including manganese, bauxite, timber, cocoa, ruber, palm etc.
The Director of the Port of Takoradi, Captain Ebenezer Afedzi, assured the team of the port's readiness to be part of the historic event of facilitating the shipment of the first consignment of goods from Ghana under the AfCFTA's Guided Trade Initiative, slated for September 26, 2022.