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Mr Christian Nti, Director General of the Ghana Highway Authority has stated that the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will partly depend on the quality of roads in participating countries.
“If we have to improve trade volumes among African countries, especially using road transport, then we need to have quality roads that will transport goods to the participating countries.”
Mr Nti said this during a day’s business forum organised by the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) in Lome, Togo.
The forum which attracted industry players from Ghana and Togo was organised by GITFiC to buttress the activities of AfCFTA secretariat in their bid to create a common market among participating counties in the continent and beyond.
The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: It is a high ambition trade agreement, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas.
By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objective of the AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.
The elimination of NTBs is critical to boosting intra-Africa trade and achieving the objectives of the AfCFTA.
It will reduce the costs of trading across borders and ease cross-border movement of goods and the bulk of the AfCFTA benefits will be realised if State Parties efficiently manage and eliminate NTBs.
According to the World Bank, The AfCFTA agreement aims to provide broader and deeper economic integration across the continent as well as attract investment, boost trade, provide better jobs, reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity in Africa.
Mr Nti called for the investment of 80 per cent of Africa’s resources on road building to facilitate the movement of goods and services and make trade cheaper than importing from other continents.
He said with good roads, farmers would not incur post-harvest losses, a situation that could also encourage more Ghanaians into agriculture to produce more raw materials for export and domestic consumption.
He said investing on roads could take a lot of people selling and hawking on major streets to engage in other ventures for their livelihoods.
During a visit to Ghana’s Ambassador, Mr Kofi Mensah Demitia, he urged Ghanaians to take advantage of the location of the AfCFTA secretariat in Ghana to create opportunities that would inure to the benefits of all Ghanaians.
He said trade volumes between Ghana and Togo could rise significantly if barriers were removed for the free flow of goods and services.
“These two sister countries can only grow their trade volumes, if they relax some of the taxes and place themselves for win-win situations, rather than trying to sabotage one another, which will not benefit any member of the countries.”
Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer of the GITFiC said the primary aim of his outfit was to promote healthy trade among African Countries.
He ensure its feasibility, Mr Ackom said GITFiC had for the past years moved from one African country to the other to sensitise the business community on the benefits of AfCFTA.
He said GITFiC had also written a book to buttress their promotion exercise to enable business partnership and free flow of goods and services in the continent and advised the Business community to use the book as a guideline to achieve the goals of AfCFTA and beyond.