Ghana and six other countries have started trading goods and services under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The countries are Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Mauritius.
Ghana has supplied palm oil, ceramic tiles, and cashew products to Kenya and Cameroon, while Kenya shipped its consignment of coffee, tea, and car batteries to Ghana.
The AfCFTA Secretariat launched the Guided Trade Initiative in October, 2022,in Accra, which seeks to allow commercially meaningful trading and test the operational, institutional, legal, and trade policy environments under the AfCFTA.
Dr Fareed K. Arthur, National AfCFTA Coordinator Office, said this on Tuesday in Accra at the launch of the 74th Annual New Year School and Conference, slated to start from January 17 to 19, 2023.
The conference is on the theme: “Positioning the African Market for Sustainable Economic Development Through AfCFTA”.
The theme, he said, captured the options facing Ghana and other African countries during the economic challenges, and that the initiative would provide space for stakeholders to look at the huge potential Africa offered instead of focusing on the west for solutions.
Dr Fareed said Ghana and other African countries were endowed with natural resources when properly leveraged would transform and propel the continent into prosperity.
“The establishment of AfCFTA in 2018 is one of the most transformational decisions to come out of Africa since the creation of the Organization of African Union.
“In this time of global uncertainties and transition, AfCFTA provides a great transformational opportunity for Ghana and other participating nations to trade among themselves,” he said.
He said Ghana, as the host country for the AfCFTA Secretariat, was positioned to become the commercial capital of Africa and determined to leverage on the trade and investment opportunities of the single trade initiative.
The AfCFTA aims at uniting the African economic space into a market with over 1.3 billion.
Ghana, through the National AfCFTA Coordination Office, launched “Ghana's AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan for Boosting Ghana's Trade with Africa” in August 2022.
The document is to provide guidelines for mainstreaming the implementation of the agreement through value-addition to exports, developing capacity to effectively compete with imports, and expanding opportunities for job creation.
Professor Olivia A.T. Kwapong, the Dean, School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana, said the School had served as a national forum for discussions on national issues by the citizenry.
She said resolutions from the conference over the years were presented in a communiqué for policy direction and implementation, adding that “we now have a policy that is directing development in the entire country”.
She said the 74th conference would feature presentations on financial, educational, governance, security, and digital technology preparedness for AfCFTA.
Prof Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, Provost, College of Education, University of Ghana, said the world's economic challenges presented opportunities for the continent through the AfCFTA.
“The world is in crisis, and it has become extremely important for us to consider policies that can help the continent emerge stronger.”
He said Ghana, like many African countries, had begun putting in place strategic home-grown policies that would reduce its reliance on imports.