Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, says countries need to move beyond the narrative of a continental free trade area to operationalizing the principles of a single market and ensuring that trading is commercially and beneficially carried out.
“Let’s try and go beyond the rhetoric and interrogate the conditions that will bring us to the point that we can confidently see that the AfCFTA is implemented,” he said at the Council of Ministers meeting in Accra at the weekend.
The 3rd meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area Council of Ministers discussed pertinent issues critical for the start of trading in January 2021.
Mr Kyerematen said for the continent to benefit from the single market, there was an urgent need to create awareness among the regulatory authorities, including customs of all state parties, economic operators, including producers and exporters as well as the logistics industry in the various countries.
“These are the agents that would make AfCFTA work on the ground and if there is no awareness, we cannot harvest the benefits,” the Minister said.
He also called for the development of concrete ways to enable the regulatory authorities and economic operators to interface with the systems that were being established under the AfCFTA and to agree on rules of origin, the customs facilities and procedures for export and import for goods.
He urged member states to continue to commit themselves to laying the foundation for a single continental market for Africa.
“I am fully convinced that the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions taken by the African Union. For us in Ghana, we recognize that an increase in trade is the surest way to deepen regional integration in Africa,” Mr Kyerematen said.