Continental Free Trade Agreement wouldn’t hurt Ghana's economy - Ken Ofori-Atta

Continental Free Trade Agreement wouldn’t hurt Ghana's economy - Ken Ofori-Atta
Source: Ghana | George Wiafe | JoyBusiness | Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Date: 13-06-2019 Time: 05:06:15:pm
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta interacting with some participants at this year's AfDB Annual Meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area would come with some minimal shocks but would not hurt the country’s economy. 

According to him the benefits far “outweigh” the initial shocks that would come with the implementation of the African Free Trade Deal on the economy.

Could the Continental Free Trade Deal worsen Ghana’s revenue challenges?

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 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. 

But speaking to JoyBusiness in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on the sidelines of the African Development Bank meetings, Mr Ofori-Atta said 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. 

He said, “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”.
The African Free Trade Agreement and Ghana

Government of Ghana was one of the first 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 $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.    

Why is Ghana pushing for this secretariat?

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.  

Mr Ofori-Atta believes that having the headquarters in Accra would help position the country as the preferred destination for doing business in Africa. 

He was of the view that it is also surprising that despite the country’s contribution to the African Union it is not hosting of its agencies.    

Supporting the African Development Bank

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.