Trading on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) must commence immediately if not the momentum demonstrated by the trading public since its establishment and the high expectation might dwindle with time.
Since its take-off in January 2021, not much trading has taken place even though it has the potential to rake in some three trillion dollars for the continent, Mr. Louis Yaw Afful, Executive Director of the AfCFTA Policy Network (APN) who is also a trade practitioner has revealed.
Mr. Afful who spoke on the topic: “the role of the youth in trade, security and maritime under continental trading,” at a forum monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema revealed that one of the reasons accounting for the delay has to do with the progress for the finalization of the rules of origin which currently stand at 87.13 percent.
“At 87.13 percent rules of origin, I think we should start trading. Those who are ready should start. When people have anticipation, after a period when their expectations are not met, it dwindles,” he said.
He explained that rules of origin were the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product, to support preferential trade liberalization.
The APN Executive Director, also supported the call for a single customs union for Africa to support trading efforts within the continent, explaining that talks were underway to establish that as part of the Single Africa Market masterplan stating however that it was unclear when that would be officially established and the accompanying modalities.
He noted that another challenge was customs management and procedures, as party states were supposed to pass their legislative instruments to enforce the agreement, which he noted was however slow.
“Some don’t have legislative instruments to enforce this customs management and procedures around their ports. They will say they have agreed and goods can be traded, but when you go down to the ground you realize that nothing shows they are ready,” he stated.
The trade practitioner: “It is part of the holistic One Africa Market which is in stages. The first is the Free Trade Area where we are, then follows with one Customs Union and then one currency”.
According to him, the vision to have one customs union feeds into the preamble that established the agreement which says there would be customs management and cooperation.
Source: Modern Ghana