The West African Regional Director of CUTS International, Appiah Kusi Adomako has called on government to support Ghanaian Medium Small-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to position them to take advantage of the Guided Trade Initiative under the AfCFTA.
Addressing stakeholders and the media at a Public Private Dialogue (PPD) organized by CUTS International Accra with support from the GIZ-implemented Programme Support to the AfCFTA under the Trade Hub Ghana in Accra, Mr Adomako underscored the need for government to build the capacity of Ghanaian MSMEs to improve their knowledge and awareness on the Guided Trade Initiative under AfCFTA to better position them to benefit from the second phase of the initiative.
“Since its inception, several initiatives have been launched to promote the implementation of the AfCFTA. One of such initiatives is the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) launched in October 2022 by the AfCFTA Secretariat in collaboration with member states.
The overarching objective of the Guided Trade Initiative is to ensure that AfCFTA is truly operational and the gains from the initiative improve implementation in order to achieve increased inter-regional and intra-Africa trade” Mr Adomako explained
He further opined that “it is evident that knowledge and awareness of the implementation of the GTI is relatively low among Ghanaian private sector companies. Hence, government should collaborate with key stakeholders to intensify awareness creation, capacity building training and prioritize improving the general trade facilitation framework.”.
In a keynote address read on behalf of the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the Head of Division, Rules of Origin at the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr. Didier Bonyeme, revealed that Ghana has solidified its commitment to the AfCFTA by actively participating in the GTI since its inauguration in October 2022.
He stated that Ghana has solidified its commitment to the AfCFTA by actively participating in the GTI since its inauguration in October 2022.
“Out of 29 nations that submitted tariff offers, Ghana stands among the eight most committed participants, including Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia,” he added.
According to him, some notable Ghanaian companies engaged in the GTI are alcoholic beverage producer Kasapreko and cosmetics manufacturer Ghandour Cosmetics.
He announced that Kasapreko had successfully exported a 20-foot container of drinks to South Africa by air. Meanwhile, Ghandour shipped a similar consignment of beauty products to Guinea.
“Additionally, palm oil company Benso Oil Palm Plantation exported goods to Kenya and ceramics firm KEDA Ghana sent products to Cameroon,” he announced.
Beyond Ghana’s remarkable participation, other nations also actively engage in the GTI.
Mr Bonyeme noted that Kenya boasts of 27 companies conducting over 50 trades, while Egypt has 7 companies involved in 20 trades. “Furthermore, Mauritius, Rwanda and Cameroon have noteworthy engagement with 25, 8 and 4 potential trades respectively.”
In a move underscoring Ghana’s pivotal role, the AfCFTA Secretariat signed a deal with MacDan Aviation for two cargo planes and one ship to transport GTI goods. “This development highlights the collective momentum propelling the GTI towards enhanced intra-African trade,”
He emphasized the importance of the GTI, classifying it as providing a “smooth pathway towards the successful implementation of the AfCFTA”. He further reiterated the Secretariat commitment to supporting various stakeholders in the implementation of the agreement.
On his part, the Technical Advisor at the GIZ Trade Hub Ghana, Mr James Amisssah Hammond underscored the critical role MSMEs play in the success of the AfCFTA, their contribution to Ghana’s GDP and trade.
He explained that the GIZ Trade Hub Ghana in partnership with Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI), the National AfCFTA Coordinating Office (NCO) have conducted several training programs on the AfCFTA, Rules of Origin to build the capacity of the MSMEs and improve their knowledge and awareness of the Agreement.
He further described the Guided Trade Initiative as a catalyst to the effective implementation of the AfCFTA and emphasized GIZ’s commitment to support MSME development to unlock their potential to position them to benefit from the Guided Trade initiative under AfCFTA.