Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, the West Africa Director, CUTS International, has advised private sector small-scale enterprises to build their capacities to enable them to trade effectively under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr Kusi-Adomako, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tema, said capacity building was very important to put the private sector on the same strides as the public sector in readiness for AfCFTA.
He said a study conducted by his outfit to assess the needed conditions for small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of AfCFTA showed that SMEs in Ghana did not have a robust management system, necessary certifications, export licenses, and requisite funds.
He said most of the indigenous SMEs lacked the resources, for example, to give credit to the importer to export their goods to other countries, adding, however, that some of the foreign-owned companies in Tema Free Zone have such resources.
He, therefore, urged the private sector operators to familiarize themselves with the national AfCFTA policy framework to enable them to align their activities with the vision of the government to achieve success together.
He said while actual trading was close to inactive, the public sector has put in place interventions to prepare businesses for trading when it finally takes off, adding that the government, through its agencies, has created awareness of AfCFTA, the inherent opportunities, among others for people to have the requisite knowledge on best way and place for the trading of their products.
Mr Kusi-Adomako noted that, unlike the private sector, the state was ready as the government has provided a leadership role by creating the enabling environment for trading to take off under AfCFTA.
He said apart from hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana was one of the countries to ratify the agreement early and develop a strategic policy framework and action plan for it.
He said Ghana had taken a lead among other African countries, largely because the AfCFTA was also the President’s pet child and, therefore, managed to get the county to host the Secretariat.
According to him, the one district one factory was another initiative that feeds into the AfCFTA and therefore commended the National Coordination Office, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry for such policies.
He said government efforts would only be fruitful when complemented by the commitment of stakeholders, especially the private sector.