The chair of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has urged US investors to quickly take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) and invest.
Speaking during a round table discussion on US-Africa investment opportunities, Otchere-Darko said the AfCFTA would open massive opportunities on the continent and if the United States cannot take advantage and invest, they will only have themselves to blame if the Chinese utilise the opportunity.
Otchere-Darko said, “When you have a continent with 1.3 trillion, that is building a single market if you don’t wake up to it, it will be too late and you can’t blame China when it happens. So my message to America is that there is an opportunity in Africa.”
He continued: “We are building a new Africa and that new Africa is a single market, Africa. Potentially the largest single market in the World. We are going to have a customs union, some may think that it’s not possible but it’s possible. In fact, the first customs union in the world happened in Africa.”
The lawyer and close associate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government laid out further trade advantages that will be realised with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“It was a South African customs union that was in 1910. So we are going to have a customs union and once we do that it means that we are not going to rely so much on import because the rules of origin is set in. And there will be higher duties for things coming in but within a single market there will be no charges.
“So I think what the Chinese are recognising [and I am just using Ghana as an example] is that they are setting industries here [in Ghana]. And perhaps before America wakes up, the single market would have been in full motion and you would have Chinese industries not just depending on imports into Africa but actually setting up in Africa and taking advantage of the single market.” he added.
Recently, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia touched on the AfCFTA during an interview in Kenya, also espousing on its benefits to the people of Africa.
“People like Kwame Nkurumah were a bit ahead of their time with their vision as they held a view that Africa needed to be cooperative and united which is today being manifested. AFCTA is the biggest free trade area in the world. It is important that Africa trades by itself as we have largely traded with our colonial masters. AFCTA is an idea whose time has come and Ghana is the secretariat hence we are very passionate about it. There are a lot of opportunities and potential to realize.” Bawumia told KTN News.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area encompassing most of Africa. It was established in 2018 by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area by number of member states, after the World Trade Organization, and the largest in population and geographic size, spanning 1.3 billion people across the world’s second-largest continent.