Head-Freight and Logistics, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Fred Asiedu-Dartey, has said the removal of “unwarranted economic obstacles and non-tariff barriers” will unlock the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) full potential.
This action, he stated, will result in an enhanced transportation system – consequently boosting the competitiveness of domestic industries within the continental free trade area.
“This has become even more essential as Africa turns its focus inward to meet a significant portion of its needs, build industries, create and distribute wealth within its borders, and empower industries to leverage their competitive advantages on the global stage,” Mr. Asiedu-Dartey said at the tenth annual regional conference of Borderless Alliance launch in Accra.
A recent study conducted by Ishmael Yamson & Associates and Sam Okudzeto & Associates on behalf of the University of Professional Studies-Accra (UPSA) Law School has already sounded a warning about the dangers that tariff and non-tariff barriers present to the realization of a liberalized African trade market within the framework of AfCFTA.
The elimination of these restrictions would lead to a substantial boost in trade among African nations, Mr. Asiedu-Dartey stressed, stating: “Economies that have thrived have done so by ensuring seamless movement of goods, services and people across borders”.
West Africa’s time to accelerate
On his part, president of the Borderless Alliance National Committee in Ghana, Ziad Hamoui, pointed out that the current global economic uncertainty and growing food insecurity offer the West Africa region a unique opportunity to fast-track its journey toward regional economic integration.
This can be achieved by utilising trade facilitation tools, both regionally and internationally, to expedite economic growth and establish more extensive and accessible regional markets – particularly for locally produced food and agricultural products, he stated.
“Removing regional barriers to trade and transport is critical to harnessing that growth and development, to ensure all of West Africa’s 300 million citizens benefit from it,” he added.
Borderless 2023 will take place at Alisa Hotel in Tema from October 25 to 26. In its tenth year, these annual regional conferences have evolved into pivotal platforms for discussions on trade facilitation, regional integration and conducting business in West Africa.
They bring together participants, decision-makers and trade experts to explore ways of enhancing their enterprises and foster a more conducive business environment across the region.
This year’s conference, hosted by the Ghana Shippers Authority, revolves around the theme ‘Strengthening Regional Agricultural Value Chains to Compete in a Global Market’.
Mr. Hamoui provided insights into the conference, highlighting that the forthcoming event offers a crucial chance to tackle the rising uncertainty in global supply chains; and address the necessity for establishing more durable and resilient regional agricultural value chains in West Africa.
Expected participants will include representatives from authorities of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Transport); Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS and UEMOA); key government agencies, regional development partners, financial institutions, transport and logistics companies, local manufacturers, economic operators and traders from across West Africa.
Borderless Alliance serves as a platform to identify and address the problems that affect regional trade, coordinating the implementation of a comprehensive strategy between public and private sector stakeholders across West Africa. The conference will allow stakeholders to examine the current successes and challenges in order to drive economic growth across the region.