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African Free Trade will come with minimal shocks to economy –Fin Minister

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, which is expected soon, would come with some minimal shocks though it would not hurt the country’s economy, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said.

The benefits far “outweigh” the initial shocks that would come with the implementation of the African Free Trade Agreement on the economy, he explained.

Ghana over the past years had some challenges in meeting its revenue targets, however, the government has argued it implementing some measures to help deal with the challenge.

This has however led to some economists arguing that implementing the continental free trade deal could come with some challenges for the economy in terms of revenue the country was generating from the movement of goods in the region.

“Some structures that they are have instituted together with other measures would help increase trade volumes at the port, a development that would help minimize the expected shocks on Ghana”, Mr Ofori-Atta said last week in in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Justifying why Ghana is bidding for the headquarters of the continental trade pact, he expressed that, “When you have this headquarters here, it would also help in our bid to make Ghana the hub for financial and aviation activities in Africa”.

Favorably, several government officials engaged by JoyBusiness have spoken about the expected economic benefits in having the headquarters in Ghana. Therefore, one is convinced about the immediate economic impact of having the headquarters in the country.

According to the Finance Minister, a lot of work has been done and he is optimistic of Ghana being selected by the African Union to host the secretariat, “looking at the work that has been done so far by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade minister as well as other ministers, I am convinced that we would get the headquarters”

He also added that President Akufo-Addo has also made some calls to other leaders to ensure Ghana get to host the headquarters in Accra.

Government of Ghana was one first set of countries to sign up onto the pact that was expected to create the biggest single market in the world, according to several analysts by some economist and think tanks.

The Agreement would make the region with the potential market of 1.2 billion people with a cumulative Gross Domestic Product of US$3.4 trillion.

Ghana and the other 22 countries that have signed up to the Agreement would start its full implementation from July 2019.

According to the Finance Minister, Ghana was one of the proponents of this Agreement in creating the common market and therefore it would be right to have the headquarters in the country.

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina at the opening of the Annual African Development Bank meeting appealed to the member countries to increase the General Capital Increase of the Bank and help replenish the African Development Fund. 

Mr Ofori-Atta also agrees and said the move is in the right direction. According to him, the time has come for Africa to build its own Development Bank.

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