A former Minister of Food and Agriculture and flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has urged Ghana and Zimbabwe to immediately scale up trade between themselves under the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), considering the economic distress they are experiencing.
He said the impact of the global economic recession on the two countries gives credence to calls for Accra and Harare to find solutions to their own problems.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto therefore stressed the need to increase trade volumes between the two countries since there are many opportunities that could be explored to their advantage.
He made the call during the Zimbabwe-Ghana Business Forum which opened in Accra on Monday, March 27, 2023, and expected to end today.
“This event could not be timely, occurring at a period when the whole world finds itself in a state of economic distress. It presents an opportunity for us to find lasting solutions to our challenges. If you look at the share of intra-Africa exports as a percentage of total African exports, it tells us that internal trade on the continent is a must,” he noted.
He further noted that the volume of trade among countries within the African continent is too small, compared to the total global trade.
He pointed out that statistics from the AfCFTA show that trade between Ghana and Zimbabwe stands at just a little over US$3 million in 2022.
He reiterated the need for Africa to increase trade among its countries using the framework of the AfCFTA, which is the panacea to resolving some of the challenges faced when trading within the African continent.
He said it is a well-known fact that intra-Africa trade is one of the dreams of the founding fathers of the African Union. “This is a dream which never fully came into fruition in their time. It might have taken us decades to get there, but at least progress has been made,” he added.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto bemoaned that the lack of initiative and mere rhetoric that had been the bane of many African countries, expressing the belief that with the establishment of the AfCFTA, those challenges could be a thing of the past.
“A lot of beautiful ideas have died natural deaths because not enough people have taken the first step. I must therefore commend ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organization of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for taking this initiative to come into the Ghanaian market,” he stated.
He noted that there exists significant potentials for the two countries to explore to increase the volume of trade between them.
Both Ghana and Zimbabwe have ratified the legal framework for harmonization of AfCFTA trade rules, making it easier for them to trade among themselves