The Country Director of CUTS International, Appiah Kusi Adomako, has lauded the decision to postpone the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was scheduled to take off this month.
According to him, the postponement is necessary in the wake of the global health crisis and its attendant economic impact.
The AfCFTA secretariat announced that it has rescheduled the implementation from July 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Mr. Adomako said some level of trading is already ongoing among African countries hence the postponement of the AfCFTA implementation date will not affect the movement of goods.
“Postponing the commencement of AfCFTA to next year is very good. It will allow countries to be able to resolve issues with the pandemic because we are trying to prevent new infections from people coming into individual countries, and one of the ways we can do that is to close borders. However, the fact that the borders are closed doesn’t mean that we are not trading among ourselves because goods are able to move across all the various regions,” he said.
Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country, President Akufo-Ado announced that Ghana’s borders will remain shut until further notice.
He said the border closure order is to ensure that there is no risk of importation of COVID-19 into Ghana, while the country focuses on the enhanced contact tracing and testing program currently underway.
Also, before the announcement of the postponement of the AfCFTA, some trade analysts had called on African countries to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to increase trade among themselves to reduce trade with China and Europe and grow their economies.
A Senior Partner at AB & David, and a member of the Afrochampions Initiative, David Ofosu-Dorte, urged businesses across the African continent to adopt an African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) strategy post COVID-19.
According to him, the way businesses prepare for AfCFTA, would determine how much they would benefit from the initiative and help boost the continent’s economic growth agenda.
AfCFTA is an agreement among some African countries aimed at encouraging intra African trade to create jobs on the continent.
It is also to among other things create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments, to accelerate the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.