Ghana by virtue of its geographical location has been placed among the biggest beneficiaries of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a former Oxford University professor, Noel Tagoe has said.

He is therefore urging the Ghanaian banking industry to team up with its counterparts on the African continent so as to fully benefit from the AfCFTA.

Ghana, he projects, will become a subsidiary hub for many multinationals.

But for that to be possible, he wants transportation infrastructure to be made a priority to facilitate trading activities.

“You cannot import and export without transportation infrastructure. So for those of us who are at the coast, we need very good ports to be able to handle big projects; ensuring that ports work very well is important. Therefore those who are inland [landlocked countries] need other means of carrying freight such as rail, road or air infrastructure – these are pretty costly – there should be an air agreement over Africa,” he said.

Continuing, Professor Tagoe said Ghana has started at a good point with the continental free trade by putting laws and policies in place to regulate trading activities and thus urged other African countries to emulate the country.

“I think we started at a very good place because the law must be based on policy so the policies state what the objectives are and the law should bring the objectives to being. Every country has to put in place laws that will align with the continental free trade.”

“There are dispute mechanisms that have been put in place at the continental level and that should help them [member countries] deal with it. I think Africa has had some experience with these things because we’ve had regional economic communities such as ECOWAS”, he said.

AfCFTA

The Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is an Africa-wide free trade agreement (FTA) designed to boost intra-African trade and pave the way for the future establishment of a continental customs union.

The CFTA builds on existing Tripartite FTA negotiations amongst three African regional economic communities (RECs): the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africsa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC),  although it would like to incorporate all other African RECs too. 

The decision to establish the CFTA was adopted as early as 2012 by the heads of state at the 18th ordinary session of the African Union (AU), and negotiations officially begun in June 2015.

AfCFTA brings together 54 African countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product of more than US$3.4 trillion.