President Akufo Addo has charged regulatory agencies in Ghana to be up and doing in the discharge of their duties in order to safeguard the activities of the private sector.
Addressing the Opening Ceremony of the National Conference on the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement in Ghana on the theme; “Harnessing the Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), President Akufo-Addo said, “It is essential that the regulatory bodies rise to the occasion and be up and doing in the discharge of their duties in order to promote discipline in the activities of the private sector.”
“Institutions such as the Bank of Ghana, the Registrar of Companies, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Insurance Commission, and the National Pension Regulatory Authority must see to the effective regulation and supervision of the entities within their remit. We have seen what the previous failure of regulation led to in the banking sector,” President Akufo Addo said.
Campaign to Host AfCFTA Secretariat
In his statement, the President noted that the campaign for Ghana to win the bid to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA was a national one that involved two former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufour; the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as well as many other eminent statesmen. He added that the level of participation in ensuring that Ghana won the bid was a truly national endeavor.
“The campaign was truly a national one and I am grateful to all those who contributed to its success,” President Akufo Addo noted.
The national conference is aimed at bringing together key stakeholders in Ghana to discuss national strategies and programme interventions to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA. Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen in his opening remarks indicated that he is looking forward to harvesting rich ideas and proposals from the three-day conference that would lead to the successful establishment of the AfCFTA secretariat in Ghana.
Areas of Focus for the Conference
The three-day conference will have eight (8) different sessions that will, amongst others, focus on putting the AfCFTA in context, the economic benefits to be derived for Ghana from the implementation of AfCFTA, analyze how the AfCFTA will contribute in practical terms to realizing the objectives of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the SDGs and a Ghana Beyond Aid. Other sessions will look at the operationalizing the AfCFTA in Ghana, discuss what actions are needed to develop and implement Ghana’s National Programme of Action for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT), and explore ways of boosting employment opportunities for the youth as well as enhancing the empowerment of women. Participants of the three-day conference include senior policy makers, parliamentarians, the business community, academia, representatives of civil society organizations and development partners.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization. The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018.
The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022. The proposal was set to come into force 30 days after ratification by 22 of the signatory states. On April 2, 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd state to ratify the agreement, and on April 29 the Saharan Republic made the 22nd deposit of instruments of ratification. The agreement went into force on May 30 and entered its operational phase following a summit on July 7, 2019.