The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has admonished African leaders to put their shoulders to the wheel and ensure that all boxes are ticked to facilitate implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the ground and not only on paper, as a lot of work has already been done in the bid to leapfrog the continent’s economic fortunes.
According to him, this won’t be the first time the continent is making an attempt to integrate its trade systems; but the AFCFTA has come a long way and must succeed.
Speaking at the opening of the 3rd Council of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Ministers’ Meeting held in Accra, Mr. Kyerematen said: “If our challenge is making sure that we trade efficiently and effectively, then the question we need to ask ourselves is: what does it really mean for us to talk about trading efficiently and effectively?
“Because, let us remember, efforts at regional integration, efforts at trading among ourselves is not starting with creation of the Continental Free Trade Area. We have had regional economic activities existing in various parts of the continent for several years, and yet we have not gone beyond 15 percent in terms of intra-regional trade.
“Which means that we cannot take anything for granted. So, I challenge you my colleagues; let us now try and go beyond the rhetoric and interrogate the conditions which will bring us to a point where we can confidently say that the AfCFTA is actually working.”
He also urged member-states to continue committing themselves to laying the foundations of a single continental market for Africa.
“I am fully convinced that the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions taken by the African Union. For us in Ghana, we recognize that an increase in trade is the surest way to deepen regional integration in Africa.”