Government sets up AfCFTA Technical Working Groups to promote intra-African trade

Date: 2020-02-18

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has set up seven national Technical Working Groups to develop a national programme of action for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) and help Ghana derive maximum benefit from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Working Groups, which are made up of senior representatives from different stakeholder institutions, cover areas including Trade Policy, Trade Facilitation, Enhancing Productive Capacity, Trade-related Infrastructure, Trade Information, Trade and Development Finance and Factor Market Integration.

Speaking at the launch of the Working Groups, Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, noted that the creation of the Working Groups forms part of Government strategies to derive maximum benefit from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. He also indicated that, in addition to the technical working groups, a National AfCFTA Coordinating Office will also be established under the Ministry of Trade and Industry to act as a national coordination hub.

On her part, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey indicated that “as host of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana is committed to providing the necessary facilities and tools to ensure that the objectives of the AfCFTA are achieved.”

“On our part as a country, our hope is that these technical groups being inaugurated today will work assiduously to ensure that Ghana’s interests in this trade arrangement are protected and advanced. The country is, therefore, depending on you to ensure that Ghana is not short-changed in these arrangements and that Ghana’s trade with the rest of the continent is beneficial to her citizens”, she stated.

She also disclosed that Mr Wamkele Mene, former South African Head of Mission to the World Trade Organisation and South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area negotiations, was elected by the AU Assembly as the first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat.

The AGI is represented on the Trade and Development Finance Technical Working Group by the President, Dr Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and on the Trade Policy Group by the CEO, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah. Mr Humphrey Ayim-Darke, AGI Vice President for SMEs, represents the Association on the Trade Facilitation Group while Mr Tsornam Akpeloo, AGI Accra Chairman is on the Enhancing Productive Capacity Technical Working Group. The Director of Policy and Research of AGI, Mr John Defor, represents the Association on the Trade Information Technical Working Group.