Ghana may be heading for some form of disaster if it does not prepare adequately ahead of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says Tsonam Akpeloo, the Chairman, of the Association of Ghana Industries Accra.
Under the AfCFTA, which will take effect in June 2020, signatory countries have committed to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods and lift non-tariff barriers, among others.
But Mr. Akpeloo fears Ghana may not position itself well enough to protect its local industries.
“We are sitting on a time bomb really because we will wake up and Ghana will be flooded with products that are cheap and we will be helpless.”
He was speaking on Citi TV’s The Point of View where he stressed the need for the government to put in place measures to make Ghana competitive.
“It means measures must be put in place to ensure we are competitive. Merely having the head office here in Accra cannot give us much. To be ready means that you have to really begin to produce those products that you have a strong competitive advantage over.”
He further suggested that Ghana look to the industries of textiles, salt and pharmaceuticals as possible launching pads.
But he noted that there were some additional constraints “that will mean that our efforts may not go far” like the cost of power.
“As I speak to you, the cost of power constitutes about 30 percent of the entire production cost and thirty percent is significant.”
The AfCFTA agreement seeks to create a single African market of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion; a figure that will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.
Ghana will be hosting the AfCFTA secretariat .
There are currently 54 signatories to the trade agreement.