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Business News of Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Impact of AfCFTA may be lost if countries sign unilateral trade deals – Hubert Arthur

The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for International Trade and Development, Isaac Hubert Arthur is concerned that the continental Free Trade Agreement may lose its impact if countries sign a unilateral deal with other countries outside the continent.

Ghana is expected to sign a trade deal with the UK on Tuesday and that is expected to deepen bilateral ties and give exporters hope.

Speaking in an interview with Accra-based JoyNews monitored by GhanaWeb, Mr. Arthur said the fragmentation of trade deals may cause countries participating in AfCFTA to lose their focus.

“Whatever agreement we signing outside the AfCFTA has to be consistent with the AfCFTA, so it's just about how you argue your way around it, just as the minister is that it was based on the context of the ECOWAS and then the Interim agreement so ECOWAS is strongly behind it as well, so if you are saying that eventually, we are hoping that once this start ECOWAS will adopt it then what you saying it is moving from bilateral arrangement to regional arrangement and that could become a basis for saying that it is very consistent with the AfCFTA, but I think we to be careful here, how prepared are even for the African market, AfCFTA has started its implementation as at January,” he said.

He further stated that: “It creates fragmentation in the entire system, the point is we have a major focus AfCFTA, the ECOWAS has been there for long with so many agreements but I think the AfCFTA is going to give all of us the opportunity as we try to implement, let us promote Africa-Direct investment and not just foreign-direct.”

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