Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa has called on local pressmen to throw more light on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in their reportage and programming.

According to him, this will reflect the role of the media in highlighting issues of national development, while addressing the concerns of the marginalised in society.

He made this call at a media capacity enhancement programme on the workings of the African Continental Free Trade Area, on Monday.

"You must regularly review the extent to which the country is engaging to implement the AfCFTA. Such reviews would stimulate discussions on the utility of the Agreement. Without you, and your active collaboration with government in this effort of ours, businesses, SMEs, indeed many of us, will not understand fully this potentially life-changing Agreement", Mr. Herbert Krapa stressed.

The Deputy Minister expressed the view that the media in Ghana, like their counterparts in every corner of the African continent have an important role in ensuring the success and implementation of AfCFTA. He added that it was imperative on them to make the views of different interest groups such as consumers, producers, workers and small businesses heard.

"On accessible analysis, the media have a duty to make complex policy processes and issues about AfCFTA intelligible for target audiences, explaining constantly technical language and jargons. On development perspective and poverty reduction, the media should focus on the link between trade and development opportunities and barriers, and the implications of AfCFTA for poverty reduction. On human impact, you should highlight how trade and trade policies directly affect people. For example, it provides access to essential goods and services or employment", he added.

Mr. Krapa also noted that in the discharge of their everyday duty, the media must endeavour to create opportunities for businesses to provide input into the execution of the Agreement by sharing lessons from their own experiences. He said there's the need for the media to probe and analyse the relationship between AfCFTA trade rules and national trade policy to deepen understanding about the challenges associated with it.

He further urged, "On Interest representation and decision-making, explore the underlying social, economic and political interests involved in trade policy-making. On gender, you must constantly and consistently consider how trade policies reflect and affect the roles and socio-economic positions of men and women”.

Addressing the gathering, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah underscored the importance of partnerships between government, citizens and all other stakeholders in the national efforts at economic resurgence post COVID-19. He stated that the media is the bridge that facilitates these partnerships; adding that it is necessary for the media to be equipped with the right information in order to ask the right questions and better inform the populace.

The one-day training programme was under the theme, "Equipping the media to report on AfCFTA". Other dignitaries who attended the function were the Coordinator of the National AfCFTA Office, Dr. Fareed Arthur and the UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, Dr. Angela Lusigi.

In closing, the Deputy Trade Minister expressed his appreciation to the Ministry of Information and the UNDP for creating the platform for knowledge-sharing on issues regarding AfCFTA. He was hopeful that it will help broaden the stakeholder engagement and participation on the African Free Trade Area and its implementation.

The engagement with the media was organised by the Ministry of Information in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at Aburi in the Eastern Region.

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