GRA to complement AfCFTA Trading in Ghana
The former Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has disclosed that the Government of Ghana has designated the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as the competent authority for the issuance of Rules of Origin Certificate under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent.
The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in US$2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. It is estimated that intra-African trade will increase by as much as US$35 billion per annum or 52 percent by 2022.
At the Business Forum which was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the GRA in Accra on Tuesday, the Minister for Trade and Industry also outlined the various structures and mechanisms put in place for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA in Ghana.
Mr. Kyerematen said among other things that AfCFTA will increase the level of intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade within the African Continent, and address the challenge of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single continental market which will lead to economies of scale.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, officially launched the Business Forum on the start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana in Accra last Tuesday.
Ghana won the bid in July 2019 to host the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, and as part of the obligations and commitment in the Host Country Agreement, the country is required to provide a fully-furnished office complex as the headquarters of the Secretariat, and an official residence for the Secretary-General.
As a result, the AfCFTA Secretariat was commissioned in Accra as a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for the African Continental Free Trade Area to create a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion.
Trading under the AfCFTA was originally planned for July 1, 2020, but delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who handed over the Secretariat to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at a ceremony in Accra on August 17, 2020, called on all African leaders to put in the necessary structures and resources to make the agreement that has created the largest trading bloc in the world become a success for the prosperity of the African people.
“We are now the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, and we must make it happen. It will provide the vehicle for us to trade among ourselves in a more modern and sophisticated manner. It will offer a huge opportunity to exploit the abundant resources of our great continent for the benefit of our people. So I urge member states to put in extra efforts to complete all outstanding implementation issues,” he said at the inauguration ceremony held in Accra.
Last Tuesday’s Business Forum, marking the start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana, was attended by H. E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat, senior government officials and captains of industry, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senior Minister, Deputy Trade Minister, GRA Commissioner General, and Governor of the Bank of Ghana.