As Ghana prepares to host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat it organises a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Harnessing the benefits of the AfCFTA for a Ghana beyond Aid

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC), are organising a High-Level Conference on AfCFTA from 19-21 August 2019, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana focsuing on Harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a Ghana beyond Aid.

The purpose of the National Conference is to bring together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA. The President of the Republic of Ghana will use the opportunity to articulate his vision for the AfCFTA for a Ghana Beyond Aid. Participants will include Senior Policy Makers, Parliamentarians, the Business Community, Academia, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Development Parties and the Media. The Conference will also allow deeper reflection on issues pertinent to the advancement of the economy of Ghana within the framework of the AfCFTA.

Mr. Joseph Atta-Mensah, Principal Policy Advisor, Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Economic Commission for Africa said, In the context of the recent designation of Ghana by the African Union Summit as the host of the AfCFTA Secretariat this dialogue adresses the question of how Ghana can design and implement effective strategies and policies that will support the promotion of rapid inclusive economic growth by boosting competitiveness and job creation under the AfCFTA.rdquo;

The operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 at the African Union#39;s Extraordinary Summit, with a transition period up to 1 July 2020 when trading will begin under the deal. Ghana was selected as the country to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), making it responsible for the overseeing the implementation of the agreement. The country has committed to donate $10 million for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Ghana was among the first group of countries to ratify the agreement on 10 May 2018, following the 21 March 2018 signature of the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by 44 AU member states The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after ratification by the required 22 AU member states.

Mr. David Luke, Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre, Economic Commission for Africa explains that Ghana's AfCFTA implementation strategy should not only focus on promoting high and sustainable long-term growth but also ensure that the benefits of such growth are widely shared in order to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living for all in Ghana.rdquo;

The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world#39;s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization across the continent. The AfCFTA is furtherexpected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

This Conference is part of a wider project aimed at deepening Africa's trade integration through effective implementation of the AfCFTA. Financially supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts to ensure effective AfCFTA implementation strategies.

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).