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Business News of Sunday, 1 December 2019

Source: Anthony Mensah

Take advantage of Continental Free Trade Area - Kate Quartey-Papafio to businesses

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Mrs Kate Quartey-Papafio, the Sector Chairperson, Electricals and Electronics Sector, Association of Ghana Industries, has urged businesses to take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) to market their products and be competitive in the emerging economy.

Ghana won the bid to host the Secretariat of the African CFTA after beating other competing countries including Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal.

However, the country in March 2018, signed the agreement to boost economic growth across the continent.

The deal was signed by representatives of 44 of the 55 African Union member states after its formal launch in Kigali, Rwanda, at an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

She said it behooves on private sector to maximize the full benefit of the free trade system for sustained economic growth.

Mrs Quartey-Papafio advised Ghanaian businesses to engage the services of experts to develop a business plan for their organization, to meet the requirements of goods and services.

The agreement when established will commit countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of "sensitive items" to be phased in later, as well as liberalize trade in services.

"We are really poised to position ourselves as private entity to capitalize on the system and maximize the benefits it comes with," she added.

Africa’s free trade area is expected to cover a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $ 2.5 trillion.

She urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the digital space and make good use of social media to advertise their products for effective results in terms of improved sales.

She said the agreement was expected to enlarge markets and diversify exports, particularly manufactured goods.

According to the Brookings Institute, a US-based think tank, intra-African trade stands at about 14 per cent, while the share of manufactured goods to the rest of the world stands at 18 per cent.

Trade among Asian countries is much higher at 59 per cent and higher among European countries at 69 per cent. The hope is that the African free trade area will boost trade across the continent by 52 per cent by 2022.

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