The National African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Coordination Office has organized a day’s sensitization forum for young entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized enterprises in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region.
With funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), over 50 industry players were enlightened on the operations of AfCFTA and its role in promoting intratrade on the African continent.
The National Coordinator AfCFTA, Dr. Fareed Arthur, indicated that the free trade initiative provides a roadmap towards increasing Africa’s global trade percentage currently pegged at 3%.
He said this would contribute to making Africa self-reliant, hence implored industry players to identify AfCFTA as a springboard to promote their goods and services across the continent.
He hinted that his outfit would liaise with the relevant institutions to build the capacity of industry players in value addition, to enable their products to compete with those from outside the continent.
He entreated the participants to register with the National AfCFTA Coordination Office to acquire the certificate of origin to enable them to access the various benefits.
“But for traders, you will understand that it is an important thing, the duty element on trade is one of the highest contributions of cost, so that is a very significant move”, he said.
An Economic Analyst with the UNDP, Sylvia Sefakor Senu, said her outfit is supporting the sensitization workshop in a bid to build human capacity in the medium and small-scale industries, and expose them to AfCFTA opportunities.
She indicated that her office is implementing an integrated support programme where some 18 entrepreneurs in small-scale industries would be provided GH₵50,000 each to inject into their businesses, after they have justified the need for a capital investment through a proposal.
She said that the program is a comprehensive one which would provide governance and institutional support to the beneficiaries to enable them to scale up their businesses.
This she said is to position the beneficiaries to leverage the opportunities provided by AfCFTA to expand their businesses.
She said the districts, municipal and metropolitan areas to benefit from the program would include Ketu South, Jomoro, Kumasi, Kassena Nankana and Sevelugu.
The Ketu South Municipal Coordinator, Gilbert Enyonam Avemegah, enumerated the significance of AfCFTA and entreated the participants to be “open-minded” and take advantage of the opportunities.
Officials from the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standard Board and other relevant institutions took turns to enlighten the participants about their operations.