The Africa Centre for International Trade and Development (ACINTaD) has called for sensitisation of Ghanaians on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)
Mr. Isaac Hubert Arthur, the Executive Director, said businesses in Ghana as well as citizens do not know much about the Continental Free Trade Agreement and the opportunities and challenges it poses to them.
He said Government must educate and popularize the Agreement in the country so that more businesses including SMEs will have knowledge about the continental free trade area.
Mr. Arthur made these known during a three-day capacity building workshop in Accra for women entrepreneurs organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint UN and WTO organisation based in Geneva in partnership with ACINTaD under the ‘SheTrades in the Commonwealth’ Initiative.
He said the workshop was held for the second time in 2019 to give more women entrepreneurs the opportunity to do on-site registration onto the SheTrades in the Commonwealth platform and also build their capacities in international trade. Participants also shared their experiences and frustrations in understanding trade agreements such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), ECOWAS Protocols, AfCFTA, and other trade policies.
Held under the theme “Preparing for the Export Market”, the Executive Director, who made a presentation on trade policies and agreements such as the AGOA, AfCFTA, and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), said to take full advantage of the export market and become competitive, businesses must also understand trade agreements and explore the opportunities available to them.
“Trade agreements have implications for businesses and even the lives of the people. Trade policy matters to everyone; the buyers, sellers, farmers, businesses, youth, women, etc. That is why effective stakeholders engagement is required prior to signing and ratifying such agreements”.
The workshop was attended by about 150 women entrepreneurs made up of representatives of business support organisations, women-owned businesses and private sector companies engaged in shea, textiles and apparel, as well as information technology & business process outsourcing sectors.
Shari Hammond, National Coordinator of ITC SheTrades-Ghana, said the ‘SheTrades in the Commonwealth’ project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and also aimed at increasing economic growth and job creation in Commonwealth countries by enabling the increased participation of women-owned businesses in international trade. She also added that the project will end by March 2020 and efforts are being made to encourage more women-owned businesses to register on the SheTrades online platform and benefit from the project.
The Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OZE, Meghan Mccormick, advised entrepreneurs to be critical in keeping accounts of their incomes and expenses in order to be able to access trade financing.