Takoradi, Feb. 19. GNA - The Minister-designate for Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen says the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would help build a strong foundation for an "Africa beyond Aid".
He said the removal of tariffs under AfCFTA would boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation, foster structural transformation, improve food security, enhance economic growth and export diversification.
Mr Kyerematen said this in a speech on his behalf by the Senior Technical Advisor of Trade and Industry, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi at a day's seminar organised by the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFIC) and the Association of Ghana Industry(AGI) in partnership with the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly in Takoradi.
The Minister-designate said AfCFTA would also provide fresh impetus and dynamism to enhance economic integration in Africa.
He said a recent study by the world bank estimated that smooth implementation of AFCFTA would lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and 70 million from moderate poverty by 2035.
Mr Kyerematen said the government had put in place all the appropriate mechanisms for the smooth implementation of AfCFTA and the commencement of AfCFTA trading.
The Minister-designate said AfCFTA was a potential game-changer for Africans, adding that the continent must not take "this window of opportunity" lightly.
"AfCFTA will also enhance Ghana's current industrial development agenda and contribute to the diversification of the Ghanaian economy for accelerated inclusive economic growth and development."
Mr Kyerematen said Ghana would continue to support the AfCFTA secretariat for a successful implementation to achieve Regional Integration goals, accelerated inclusive economic transformation and development for Africa.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive for the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly(STMA) Mr Abdul- Mumin Issah, in his welcoming address, said AfCFTA was a game-changer to maximize intra-continental trade among African businesses.
The MCE said AfCFTA was an enabling environment for manufacturers, producers, and service providers on the continent to trade among themselves.
He said the opportunities offered by AfCFTA would help to transform the living standards of people on the continent.
Mr Issah said it was, therefore, timely to expose industry players in the two Regions, Western and Western North, to the benefits and opportunities of AfCFTA to enable them effectively participate in the African Continental Free Trade.
He said businesses in the Sekondi -Takoradi Metropolis were very well- positioned and poised to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
"As managers of the city, we will welcome any investor ready to invest in the Metropolis to take advantage of the opportunity since there are available lands at the Eshyiem free zone enclave for businesses ready to operate in the metropolis. We are ready to support and facilitate any business ready to set up in the Metropolis," he said.
The Chief Executive Officer for Ghana International Trade & Finance Conference(GITFIC), Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, said the Regional seminars were a directive from the government to spread the news and have all the Regions fully educated and informed.
Mr Ackom said with the implementation of AfCFTA, the African continent was on a clear path to prosperity, eradicating poverty, hunger and strengthening its financial state as well as boosting trade.
"The future of Africans is AfCFTA because with the creation of trade opportunity platforms by the AU it is helping businesses to trade among themselves easily."
He said the first Regional seminar was held in Kumasi and Takoradi was the second. There are plans to hold similar seminars in Ho, Koforidua, and Tamale.