Almost a week after the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), businesses in Ghana, both small and big, have been charged to be proactive in taking steps to participate and benefit fully from the continent-wide agreement.
Trading under the agreement was supposed to have commenced in July 2020 but had to be postponed to January 2021.
Despite the delayed commencement, awareness about the agreement and its inherent benefits amongst businesses especially those found in the informal sector is woefully low.
In spite of the publicity built around the AfCFTA, data from the Ghana Statistical Service shows that only 134,000 businesses are currently aware of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making up 26.2 percent of firms nationwide.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the types of businesses that stand to benefit from the agreement, chief strategist of AfroChampions, a regional public-private partnership promoting impactful regional investments by African multinationals, Michael Kottoh called for more information dissemination about the agreement from the government and other stakeholders involved in the agreement in Ghana.
“I mean all kinds of businesses are qualified to trade under the AfCFTA, both small and big businesses. The most important thing is for businesses in Ghana to try to obtain from the government the list of the products which Ghana has negotiated to trade under the agreement. That’s the most important thing. It’s not every product that necessarily qualifies to be traded under the agreement. The second thing is to understand the different countries in Africa that are currently trading under the agreement because it is not all African countries that are joining the start of trading right away.”
“The third thing they need to know is to try to understand exactly what the export processes look like. If for example, I want to export some shea butter from Ghana to Kenya, exactly what is the process that I need to go through? By the process I mean what are the tariffs that are applying under the agreement for this particular product and what do I need to do in order to get the product to get to Kenya. We need more information to be provided by the government and key agencies involved in this. But businesses should also get proactive and try to get information on it as much as possible,” he added.