Add value to products to become competitive in AfCFTA — Dr Arthur to SMEs

By Kodjo Adams

Accra, Nov. 24, GNA – Dr Fareed Arthur, National Coordinator, Office of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has encouraged Small and Medium Enterprises to add value to their products to become competitive in the continental free trade market.

He said adding value to the country’s resources for intra-African trade would boost domestic revenue and enhance economic development.

Dr Arthur said this at a Capacity-Building Workshop on Trade, Investment, and Decent Work on the theme: The Role of Trade Unions in Accra.

The workshop was organised by the Trade Union Congress in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation(ILO).

He said trading under AfCFTA officially started on October 7, 2022, under the guided trade programme and stressed that about 30 companies had been issued certificates of origin to trade.

Dr Arthur announced that preparations had started towards the negotiations and development of the AFCTA protocol and youth.

That, he stated, would help address the constraints and barriers that women face when trading on the continent.

He indicated that the protocol would create an environment to empower women to trade under the AfCFTA by accessing wider markets, improving their competitiveness, and participating in regional value chains.

He said the Government had aggressively pursued programmes and policies to improve the competitive edge of local industries, which yielded positive results and a positive investor response.

Some of the programmes and policies included the industrial revitalization programme, One District One Factory, and the development of strategic anchor industries towards creating new growth paths.

Data indicates that 90 per cent of the world’s businesses and more than half of global employment are concentrated in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

He urged the trade unions to take advantage of the free market and maximise its potential for national growth.

Dr Prince Asafu-Adjaye,a researcher, TUC Ghana, said the workshop was to enlighten participants on trade policy to influence decision making.

Ms Inviolata Chinyangarara, Senior Technical Specialist for Workers Activity, ILO Country Officer, Abuja, said the voices of trade union should influence trade and investment, which were connected to the ILO Convention on decent work.

Research by the Economic Commission for Africa has revealed that the full implementation of AfCFTA is expected to significantly increase traffic flows on all modes of transport;road, rail, maritime, and air.