By Felix Cofie
Caretaker Minister for Trade and Industries, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has urged the Private sector in Ghana and in Africa to own the AfCFTA Agenda to boost Intra-African trade and Africa’s prosperity within the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and continue to work with Governments in achieving its full implementation.
The Private sector, he said, will not only be the driving force of AfCFTA, but will also be the primary beneficiary of the single market when Africa achieves the desired levels of trade between Africans as a people, adding that the advancement of Inter-Continental trade would mean private businesses can expand their markets, and venture into new territories which were previously inaccessible to them.
The Caretaker Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor was speaking at the closing of a two-day Business and Policy Dialogue, dabbed The Kwahu Summit on Africa’s Prosperity, organized by The African Prosperity Network (APN) in collaboration with The Presidency and the AfCFTA Secretariat on Friday, January 27, 2023.
While targeting the private sector, he noted that “we must drill down further to address the needs of Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises in our respective countries, as they contribute more than half of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Indeed, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) account for some ninety percent (90%) of all businesses in Africa, and provide for some eighty percent (80%) of jobs across the continent”.
Closing on the theme“ AfCFTA: From Ambition to Action, Delivering Prosperity Through Continental Trade”, Hon. Jinapor indicated that The quality of presentations, the constructive exchanges, and active participation over the past two days, are clear testimonies of their collective desire to move from ambition to action, and to deliver prosperity through AfCFTA for the “Africa We Want.”
He added that the discussions over the last two days, have shown that through public-private and multi-sectorial engagements, Africa can unblock the bottlenecks that hamper the full realisation of the single market agenda.
Mr. Jinapor therefore called on Ministers, policymakers, government representatives, and representatives of regional economic communities, to work with the private sector to institute the requisite institutional and logistical frameworks for the private sector to thrive.
He enlightened participants that Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, as the lead policy advisor of Government on matters of domestic and international trade and industry, places a lot of premium on the AfCFTA, which is the fulcrum around which most of our trade policies revolve.
In view of the importance Ghana places on AfCFTA, the Caretaker Minister disclosed a number of initiatives the Ministry has undertaken in collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat saying;
“Since the establishment of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra, the Ministry has worked closely with the Secretariat, and has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the AfCFTA, including the establishment of the National AfCFTA Coordination Office, the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Policy and Action Plan for AfCFTA, and the implementation of an AfCFTA Facilitation Programme aimed at promoting local companies to produce and export to the AfCFTA market”.
On behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Government of Ghana, The Caretaker Minister, Hon. Jinapor appreciated the efforts of the African Prosperity Network (APN), led by its Executive Director, Dr. Eugene Owusu, and all other partners, particularly the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), led by its distinguished Secretary-General, H.E. Wamkele Mene, for facilitating the holding of such a high-level business and policy dialogue on the very consequential issue of the AfCFTA.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogues, first of it’s kind in Ghana, is uniquely designed to offer a strategic and trusted annual platform to drive intra-African trade. It is a platform where the highest political and business decision makers in Africa, discuss and come up with clear, actionable initiatives to enhance trade and prosperity in Africa, aligned with the AU’s Agenda 2063.
The two day event brought together Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Representatives of Regional Economic Communities, Business Executives and Associates, Technocrats, Women, Young Entrepreneurs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media, to dialogue and proffer actionable solutions to boost Intra-African trade and Africa’s prosperity within the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.