The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday urged Ghana to embrace the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in its national poverty alleviation and development efforts.

AfCFTA, President Muhammadu Buhari;
File: President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while other officials witnessed the signing during the 12th Extra ordinary session and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres, Niamey, Niger Republic. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 07/07/2019

David Luke, ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre Coordinator gave the advise in a statement on Tuesday

“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.

“The strategy should also improve the standard of living for all in Ghana,” an ECA quoted Luke as saying.

Ghana was among the first group of African countries that ratified the continental free trade agreement in May 2018 following the country’s signing of the AfCFTA during its adoption on March 21 in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.

The western African country, which was selected to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA on July 7 this year when African leaders’ officially launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA during the Niamey, Niger AU Extraordinary Summit, had also recently committed to donate 10 million U.S. dollars for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat.

The AfCFTA Secretariat, which is responsible to oversee the implementation of the agreement, is expected to follow up on the free trade pact’s transition period, which runs up to July 1, 2019.

The ECA said it would organise a high-level conference on AfCFTA from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21 in Accra, capital of Ghana under the theme “Harnessing the Benefits of AfCFTA for a Ghana beyond Aid.”

ACCI tasks FG on policies to tackle AfCFTA challenges(Opens in a new browser tab)

Joseph Atta-Mensah, Principal Policy Advisor at the ECA’s Macroeconomics and Governance Division, said that “the high-level conference addresses the question of how Ghana can design and implement effective strategies and policies to support the promotion of rapid inclusive economic growth.

Atta-Mensah added this could also boost competitiveness and job creation under the AfCFTA.”

The meeting will be organised in partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

According to the ECA, this will bring together key national and continental stakeholders to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.

The ECA stressed the conference is part of “a wider project aimed at deepening Africa’s trade integration through effective implementation of the AfCFTA.”

The AfCFTA, which aspires to establish the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, will create a 2.5 trillion dollars economic bloc and usher in a new era of development, according to the ECA.

The free trade pact is also expected 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.(NAN)


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