The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has challenged its members to up their game and take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as it gathers steam in 2022.   

Despite the slow start, AfCFTA, is considered one giant step, creating the world’s largest unified market with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than $ 3 trillion and a population of over 1.3 billion people 

The GNCCI said industries are already losing out due to the impact of Covid-19, but can make some gains when AfCTA platform is fully utilized.

First Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Hajar, disclosed this to Joy Business at end-of-year open forum and networking by Tema Regional branch of the Chamber.

According to her, 2021 has been very challenging as businesses struggled due to the pandemic with the need to adapt to new ways of doing business particularly using e-platforms.

For her, the Chamber had its fair share of the challenges.

‘For the fact that 35% of our revenue base was netted off, we had 65% left to do all the things we were supposed to, including protecting and helping our businesses,”

“We’re hoping that our companies will take the opportunity when AfCFTA becomes buoyant having prepared this year would help to boost revenues, do much more for them and help reach out to other SMEs, preparing them against future attacks,” she said.

 She revealed that challenges in the year also affected participation of members.

The Tema Regional Vice Chair of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cosmos Bondzie, sees capacity building and getting members on track as extremely important in 2022.

“We could do this by collecting and collating information from them. For capacity building, we are looking at management, bookkeeping, customer service, e-commerce, etc,” he explained.  

He believes these areas among others will assist members access financial support, making it urgent to train SMEs in that area and making maximum use of money.

The Tema region has made it clear to members that doing business has evolved and the need to factor in Business to Business( B2B), knowing their competitors as well as client and potential client to help grow and impact the economy positively.

According to Francisca Engmann of Shotto Logistics, the Chamber has a lot to offer but members have to play their role through networking.

“For instance, the Chamber has consultants on taxation, auditing and other areas of importance and if Shotto Logistics  needs a consultant, getting one wouldn’t be that stressful,” she noted.  

Meanwhile, publisher, Michael Caesar wants meetings in 2022 to be based on needs of members and not otherwise.

“From the interaction, the Chamber has a broad idea of what it wants to be done but members are asking for the framework  to make input to reflect our needs and this can determine the type of resource persons need to engage,” he advised.

He was quite hopeful members will acquire knowledge and skills needed in their day-to-day operations aside solutions to navigate current challenges to make meaningful gains next year.

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