The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has launched a new edition of its “Time with the Ambassador” Series. This initiative aims to explore specific countries participating in the “Guided Trade” and identify potential areas of cooperation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The goal is to foster greater collaboration and partnerships between Ghana and other participating countries, ultimately driving economic growth and development across the African continent.
During the event held on May 4, 2023, Mr. Stephane Miezan, the 2nd Vice President of GNCCI, spoke passionately about the immense opportunities presented by the AfCFTA “Guided Trade” initiative. He re-emphasized the Chamber’s commitment to supporting the private sector in Ghana and urged the business community to take full advantage of these opportunities and create mutually beneficial relationships with businesses in other seven (7) Africa countries.
Mr. Miezan noted the need for African businesses to leverage the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA and work together towards the development of the African economy. The Chamber is optimistic that the “Guided Trade” initiative will help create a conducive environment for businesses in Ghana and across the continent to thrive and contribute to the growth of the African economy. He also acknowledged the Republic of Kenya for its innovation and entrepreneurial drive, recognizing it as one of the fastest-growing economies on the African continent. He highlighted the immense opportunities that exist for Ghanaian businesses to partner with Kenyan companies in various sectors.
The event featured the Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Eliphas Barine, who highlighted potential areas of cooperation between Ghanaian and Kenyan businesses in various sectors. The High Commissioner discussed several sectors in which Ghanaian businesses could collaborate with their Kenyan counterparts, including agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, ICT, and infrastructure. He noted that Kenya is a significant agricultural producer and there are various opportunities for Ghanaian businesses to partner with Kenyan companies in the production, processing, and export of agricultural products. “In addition, Kenya’s growing manufacturing sector offers various opportunities for Ghanaian businesses to collaborate with Kenyan companies in the production of goods, such as textiles, garments, food processing, and electronics. Kenya’s tourism industry is also a potential area for Ghanaian businesses to partner with Kenyan companies in hotels, restaurants, and tour operators” he said.
In particular, he emphasized Kenya’s leading role in the ICT sector and encouraged collaboration between the two countries in the development and provision of ICT services. Additionally, he highlighted Kenya’s significant investment in infrastructure, which presents opportunities for Ghanaian businesses to work with Kenyan companies on projects such as the construction, maintenance, and operation of roads, bridges, airports, and other infrastructure projects. He expressed confidence that the program would create a platform for businesses in both countries to build lasting partnerships, which would benefit both parties.
The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) marks a significant milestone in creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and contribute to the growth of the African economy. However, since its adoption by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, commercially meaningful trade had not commenced under the agreement. To address this, the AfCFTA Secretariat launched an AfCFTA initiative on “Guided Trade.” At the 9th Meeting of the Council of Ministers in July 2022, the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Mr. Wamkele Mene, announced the AfCFTA Secretariat Guided Trade Initiative. The initiative attracted the participation of eight state parties, including Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
The specific objectives of the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative are:
I. To allow commercially meaningful trading under the AfCFTA;
II. To test the operational, institutional, legal and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA; and
III. To send an important positive message to the African economic operators.
The “Guided Trade” initiative intends to achieve these objectives through matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between interested state parties in coordination with their national AfCFTA implementation committees. This exciting development presents immense opportunities for businesses in these countries and beyond. As a Chamber, the GNCCI is committed to supporting the private sector in Ghana to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by this agreement. The GNCCI’s “Time with the Ambassador” is dedicated to fulfilling this pledge by concentrating on the countries participating in the “Guided Trade.” The Chamber has already started with Kenya and will proceed with the remaining seven countries under the AfCFTA “Guided Trade.”
The “Time with the Ambassador” presents an excellent opportunity for businesses in Ghana and the rest of Africa and explore potential areas of cooperation under the AfCFTA “Guided Trade”. It is critical to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and we encourage all stakeholders to embrace it fully to promote intra-African trade and strengthen the economic ties between African countries.