Businesses must be competitive to benefit from free trade system – Ofosu-Dorte

By
Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Nov 20, GNA –
Mr David Ofosu-Dorte, a Senior Partner at AB and David Law, Wednesday advised
Ghanaians businesses to enhance their competitiveness in order to maximise the
benefits from the African Free Continental Trade Area (AFCFTA).

“Business Competiveness
means having low cost of power with competitive price, tariff free and duty
free exports, quality goods and services, good market share in local and
international and political competitiveness,” he explained.

“Being competitive
means adding value to our raw resources, which would inure to our benefits to
be able to up-scale and create the needed employment for the teeming youth in
Africa”.

Mr Ofosu-Dorte said
this in Accra at an event to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the
Africa Industrialization Day. It was held under the theme: “Positioning African
Industries to Supply the AFCFTA Market”.

Agriculture accounts
for 15 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product, with the sector
projected to generate about $100 billion per annum.

Under the free trade
market system, the urban food market is expected to also generate $150 billion
by 2030.

Mr Ofosu-Dorte,
therefore, encouraged the private sector to take advantage of the Free Trade to
position their products in the emerging markets, stressing that trade was
largely done by the private sector, while the government’s role was more of a
regulator.

Africa had become a
strategic location for other continents to do businesses, he said, adding that
it was imperative for African countries to also have a strategic direction on
trade related policies to take advantage of the free market.

The
operationalisation of the free market would lead to larger market, duty free
exports, value addition opportunities and integrated Africa businesses for
socio-economic development.

Countries such as
Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Botswana, Algeria,
Kenya, Egypt and Namibia are among the most competitive countries who are
prepared to take advantage of the markets.

Mr Ofosu-Dorte urged
businesses to upgrade the quality and standards of their products and work to
expand production to be competitive and meet other markets within the
continent.

“We need the
political competitiveness of industry,” he stated. “The private sector must
lobby government to fully gain from the benefits associated with free trade
markets”.

Mr Patrick Nimo, the
Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, for his part said the free
trade system would increase intra-Africa trade and address the fragmented
nature of the market by removing barriers such as tariffs that inhibit the free
movement of goods.

“To harness the
full benefits of the system, member states are required to implement programme
of actions, including trade policy, trade finance, trade information and market
integration”.

Ghana, he said, had
started with interventions such as the ‘One District- One Factory, Small and
Medium Enterprises Development and Custom Management Reforms to industrialise
its produce for sustained growth.

Ms Rukia Yacoub, the
UN Resident Coordinator, said her outfit would support governments to ensure a
successful trade facilitation spearheaded by Ghana.

She urged the
government to create the enabling environment to attract foreign investors,
make businesses thrive and as well as enhance domestic revenue.

GNA

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