Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, the Director of Foreign Relations at Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, says the interest of the private sector will be at the forefront in negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA).
Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi said: “In each of the various technical groups government will constitute to negotiate this Agreement, there will be private sector representatives on board to tell us the reality on the ground and some of the challenges they encounter when exporting to other African countries.”
Mr Nyame-Baafi was speaking during at a three-day Capacity Building retreat for members of the Inter-Institutional Committee on the CFTA.
“The private sector will be the main implementers of this Agreement because in reality they are the ones that will be moving our exports across the continent,” Mr Nyame-Baafi said.
In June 2015, African leaders launched negotiations to create the CFTA.
The CFTA aims to create a comprehensive and mutually beneficial single continental market for goods and services; with free movement of business persons and investments; resolving the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry formed the Inter-Institutional Committee which comprises members from institutions like the Ghana Standards Authority, the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Ministry of Finance and the Veterinary Services Directorate.
The Committee after the retreat will recommend to Government, the way forward in addressing lingering issues agitating the minds of the business community.
The Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme funded workshop was to appraise members of the Committee on the on-going negotiations on CFTA, the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the European Union.
The engagement was intended as a sensitisation and information sharing exercise to calm the anxieties of stakeholders.
It was also aimed at achieving a national consensus particularly on specific trade and related matters so as to protect the collective national interest at the on-going CFTA Agreement expected to be concluded by December, 2017.