To actualise the dreams of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and keep it afloat, the Ghana International Trade and Finance (GITFiC) has taken a step further to launch a handbook to enable the business community of Africa to understand the practicalities.
The book; ‘Actualising the African Economic Vision; A practical handbook on the AfCFTA’, which was launched at the Pacific Alliance Embassy in Accra received high patronage and would serve as the guideline for African leaders, the Academia, Trade, and Finance community, and all other patrons of the AfCFTA worldwide.
In his welcome address, Selasi Ackom, chief executive officer of GITFiC said it took a great deal of work with several consultations, in-depth analysis, and references to come out with the final product.
“This journey began for us when we took the 3rd conference to the headquarters of the African Union Addis Ababa in 2019 and succeeded in getting a number of stakeholders from the four corners of the continent to the 3rd conference, including; finance ministers, UNECA, trade and development bank in Kenya. ECOWAS Bank in Lome, Afrexim Bank in Egypt, trade ministers, finance and trade experts, Agric, Aviation et al,” he noted.
He said in 2020, they brought chief trade negotiators, deans of premier Universities, and senior media men and women from Africa back to Accra to advance the conversation on the AfCFTA when Accra was officially declared the Commercial Capital.
He stated that in 2021 they brought monetary and financial magnets from Central Banks in Africa to major stakeholders to discuss the Pan African Payment and Settlement System and its regulatory antecedents, where President Akufo-Addo gave the Keynote address through Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia.
“Rightly so because Accra hosts the AfCFTA secretariat and has a rich history of both colonial and present, cross-border trade emergence and also as the first country in Africa, south of the Sahara to gain independence,” Ackom said.
He said it was revealed in sections of the survey report that literature on the AfCFTA were missing and despite the gross interest in the subject matter by the public, almost nothing concrete was there to read more so, in a simplified form.
Ackom said the book was inspired by all heads of state on the African Continent and the advent of the AfCFTA had received substantial interest and set forth a renewed sense of optimism and conviction that seeks to propel Africa into the league of global trade powerhouse.
He explained the book was expected to reach every educational complex on the continent through the help of State Agencies, Continental Institutions with requisite funding, and Corporate Africa at large.
“This book has been devoid of large leaflets and content. The main aim here is to encourage reading and attract same. The book comprises 10 chapters, however; these 10 chapters give a complete understanding of the AfCFTA and its functional implementation structures and practically expose the reader to the opportunities within the AfCFTA with an insight of Ghana’s strategy into the AfCFTA. MSMEs were your excluded,” Ackom noted.
“The book has diagrams, info-graphics and photos to spice reading and give a pictorial meaning to the context and content and is currently in two languages; English and French and the African Union has recommended for our immediate attention to have the book translated in all recognized languages by the Union in a message sent to us on September 7, 2022. These languages include; Arabic, Kiswahili, Portuguese and Spanish.”
He said plans were afoot to translate it into Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese in the coming weeks. He also commended Albert Muchanga, Nyame-Baafi, Bernard Afreh, Tsornam Akpeloo and several other chief trade negotiators who contributed to the practical book in diverse ways.
Claudia Turbay Quintero, Colombian ambassador on behalf of the Pacific Alliance Embassy made up of Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, said the launch of the book was an opportunity for the alliance to work hand-in-hand with GITFiC and AfCFTA.
She said they were forming an internal integration and that would be extended to Ghana and AfCFTA in general adding “we want to go closer to Africa.”
Bernard Afreh, lead consultant for GITFiC said the launch of the AfCFTA and the book would enhance trade and economies of Africa in succeeding and improve the lives of over 1.5 billion people.
He appealed to financial institutions and Commercial and Trade communities to make good use of the literature contained in the book.
Other speakers at the program included Tsonam Akpeloo, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of Association of Ghana Industries, Anthony Nyame-Baafi, immediate past chief negotiator for Ghana, Joe Ghartey, member of Parliament for Essikao-Ketan in the Western Region, and Albert Muchanga.
Over 6000 copies of the book which has a street cover price of GHS 100 were sold at the launch. Some selected supermarkets, book shops, and shopping malls have been accredited to retail and distribute. Travelers can also grab copies at the airports and some selected airlines.