AFRICA – Ghana’s President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Africa playing host to several currencies impedes the effective implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Ghanaian President opined that a single currency market like the one implemented in the European Union will aid in the smooth running of the AfCFTA.

President Akufo-Addo made this known in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, at a coordination meeting of the AU Financial Institutions, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Africa has more than 40 currencies, which are characterised by frequent volatility, illiquidity and rarely traded status on the global financial market, which makes trading among African countries difficult.”

H.E Nana Akufo-Addo – President of The Republic of Ghana.

He noted that this constituted one of the biggest barriers to the effective implementation of the AfCFTA and the development of the continent.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.

It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general.

 The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

AfCFTA whose implementation is anticipated to start in 2021 will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people.

According to the African Union, the AfCFTA includes a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion.

In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

Estimates from the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) suggest that the AfCFTA has the potential both to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 percent by eliminating import duties, and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.

Benefits of this trade area will however only be realized if member states make a concerted effort to open their borders to intra-African trade which is key to realizing the dream of AfCTA.

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