Local and domestic Ghanaian industry players have been advised to think globally to help compete favorably with other African industries to enable them take advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.
The agreement is aimed at promoting the free movement of capital, labour, goods and services within the African Continent and has already been set in motion with ABM EA Ltd as the first Kenyan company to export car batteries to the Ghanaian Market.
The Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, Eliphas M. Barine made the call during the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern, Volta/Oti chapters of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), on Tuesday, October, 4, 2022.
He acknowledged that businesses faced extraordinary challenges of climate change, energy and food, but indicated that nonetheless, AfCFTA provided a silver lining.
“The Level of exposure and level of engagement is such that you are competing not only nationally or internationally, but with the very best, globally.”
Mr. Barine called on industries and all other stakeholders to show commitment to the AfCFTA and also advised new entrepreneurs to step out and promote the initiative.
Domestic businesses can lose out
Meanwhile, the Association of Ghana Industries has cautioned that domestic businesses in Ghana could lose out on a wider open African market made accessible through the AFCFTA if they failed to take advantage of available trade opportunities.
The President of AGI, Dr. Humphrey Kwesi Ayim-Darke explained that although there exists challenges in the business environment including high inflation levels, hikes in fuel prices; high interest rates and the depreciating Cedi, the AFCFTA presented a prospect for trade promotion.
In an address on his behalf by the Chief Executive Officer of AGI, Seth Twum Akwaboah, he said “in spite of these challenges, businesses are still surviving and operating and business is going on,” reason for which domestic businesses needed to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by the AFCFTA.
Dr. Ayim Darke said the theme for the occasion, “Promoting Local Economic Development for the Continental Free Trade Agreement”, spoke to the role of the AGI in packaging and marketing the businesses opportunities in the region and establishing linkages with other foreign investors.
He urged businesses to step up to the plate and produce competitively in order to take advantage of the African market.
The Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa taking his turn corroborated the need for Ghanaian industries to fill up domestic market demands.
The Regional Chairman, Eastern, Volta and Oti chapters of the AGI, Mr. Dela Gadzanku stated that members of the AGI have been empowered through several programmes aimed at increasing their prospects through the AFCFTA agenda, while also collaborating with a host of trade and industry related institutions including the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, EXI Bank, among others.
The Biakoye District Chief Executive, Milicent Kabuki Carboo said the AFCTFA offered huge opportunities for the African market to exhibit its potentials and as such her district was already positioning itself to take advantage of the agenda by identifying some local industries under the Local Economic Development initiative.
The meeting was climaxed with an exhibition from the regions’ prominent local industry players including Ziavitutu Coffee industry, Volta Wines, among others.