The Ghana National Coordinating Office (NCO) of the African Continental Free Trade Area has engaged stakeholders in the business community to develop an electronic Trade Information Repository interfaced with the African Trade Observatory (ATO) to increase trade prospects of Ghanaian businesses in the AfCFTA market.
The platform, known as the Ghana Trade Information Repository (GTIR), will provide a real-time information on product-market opportunities across Africa so Ghanaian exporters are enabled to increase trade with the sub-region.
During a validation meeting with private sector associations in Accra, Senior Communications Advisor of the AfCFTA-NCO, Catherine Ablema Afeku, said the local Coordinating Office is striving as much as possible not to make Ghanaian businesses lose out on the new market under AfCFTA – estimated to be as large as 1.2 billion people across Africa, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.4trillion.
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Trade groups, including the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Private Enterprise Federation and the Association of Small-scale Industries participated in the meeting.
Mrs. Afeku said the national policy framework on boosting trade with Africa that is being implemented by the NCO also highlights a trade information component that is critical to the success of local businesses in Ghana.
The National Policy Framework and Action Plan on boosting trade with Africa is government’s overarching policy and programme of action to ensure Ghanaian businesses are positioned to take advantage of prospects presented by the AfCFTA agreement,she said.
The framework, Mrs. Afeku indicated, has seven components: one of which is the trade information that is intended to develop the Ghana Trade Information Repository (GTIR) to aid local exporters in Ghana under the pact.
The GTIR, when in full implementation, will serve as a one-stop database or platform capable of providing a comprehensive data on market opportunities for local exporters as well as information on market access conditions which can enable local entrepreneurs to venture into new markets and effectively manage associated risks.
The initiative, which was undertaken with support from the UK government, validated findings on identified market and trade information needs of Ghanaian exporters, and how the findings can be integrated into the development of a comprehensive market information portal.
Asantewaa Donkor of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), said the British government and her outfit are connected to NCO and the AfCFTA secretariat ensure the success of trade in Ghana under the agreement.