The Ghana International Investment Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) has advocated the urgent implementation of harmonised trade finance policy reforms across the Continent for effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, the Chief Executive Officer of GITFiC, said an increase in trade finance would ease cross border trade, enable capital and information flow, attract greater foreign and intra-continental investments and provide larger customer base for financial institutions to serve.
Mr Ackom said this at the Fifth GITFiC in Accra on the theme: “Facilitating Trade and Trade-Finance for the AfCFTA; The Role of the Financial Services Sector.”
He said lack of access to trade finance had been an impeding factor to trade, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises, across the African Continent, and called on Africa’s leaders to address the situation before the implementation of AfCFTA.
Mr Ackom said even though “politics rules the economy”, the assertion was hinged on finance in terms of governance and that there was the need to create realistic ideas and find reliable partners to support SMEs under AfCFTA.
Intra-African trade policies under the AfCFTA negotiations were expected to increase by $34.6 billion by 2022 equivalent to a 52.3 per cent above the 2022 baseline.
The International Monetary Fund report in 2020 stated that an improvement in the quality of Africa’s infrastructure to global average standards would result in a seven per cent increase in intra-regional trade flows.
Mr Ackom said the complete abolition of intra trade barriers and implementation of trade facilitation procedures under the AfCFTA were geared towards promoting regional markets as attractive export destinations, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of regional products.
He said African exports performed poorly during the financial crisis, while imports declined faster during the same period, adding that the period 1999 to 2008 saw rapid growth of African trade among the regions.
Mr Ackom urged Africa’s leaders to strategise and develop a comprehensive framework to drive economic growth through the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Mr Helge Sander, the Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Ghana, said the German Government was providing support to Africa’s development initiative through GIZ to address the challenges around institutional and legal frameworks in supporting the implementation of AfCFTA. GNA
Picture: Mr Ackom