Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Thomas Quartey, has urged Ghana to be ready to host fellow Africans from the various part of the continent as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) begins.
Speaking on New Year’s Day which officially marked the start of the implementation of the trade agreement, H.E. Thomas Quartey noted Ghana would become the “centre of gravity of all commercial and economic activity” on the continent and as such needs to be ready to host all kinds of businesses.
Adding that, Ghana ought to further deepen its already stable political atmosphere and make its legal system more flexible for the businesses coming into the country on the back of the AfCFTA.
“The trade pact proposes to make Ghana the centre of gravity of all commercial and economic activity, and so Ghana needs to be ready to host all kinds of businesses. Ghana has to deepen its political stability and the legal systems must be more flexible,” he said.
“Ghana also has to pick up on its production base by focusing on maths and science among its young people for the fact of the Secretariat being in Ghana,” he added.
Speaking further, the Deputy Chair of the AUC, noted that Accra will soon become like Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa due to the situation of the Secretariat of the AfCFTA in the capital as “agents and representatives of other African states will be in Ghana to monitor and influence their economic progress within the continental economy.”
“So we have to be ready to receive many more Africans and accord them the necessary diplomatic protocols that come with hosting an organization as important as this,” he stated.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion.
It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
As the global economy is in turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creation of the vast AfCFTA regional market is a major opportunity to help African countries diversify their exports, accelerate growth, and attract foreign direct investments.