Free Trade Zones

AfCFTA Secretariat calls for accelerated development of key infrastructure in Africa to boost trade

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat has called for accelerated development of key infrastructure in areas such as transport across the continent to accelerate trade under the AfCFTA.

The remark was made during the Ghana Trade Roadshow held here in Accra on Wednesday.

Despite decades of common market agreements within different economic blocs like the Economic Community of West African States, poor transport continues to hamper market access.

The AfCFTA Secretariat therefore urges African countries to emulate some of the measures that other countries in the continents are exhibiting in terms of improving transport infrastructure to boost intra-African trade.

According to the Secretary General of the Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, improving key infrastructure on the continent will go a long way in making the AfCFTA a success.

He was speaking under the theme “Supporting Africa’s Trade Agenda – Securing the Last Mile”.

“It takes 12 to 15 days to transport goods from Abidjan to Lagos. 37 checkpoints on the corridor. Compare that to East Africa where the movement of goods from the ports of Mombasa to Kampala takes three days. They reduced transit time from 15 days, 28 stems to three days and one stem.

“It is a demonstration of what we can do as Africans when we focus our minds and ensure that they are rarely set on getting things done. This corridor is now probably one of the most efficient in Africa. It is therefore not about competition between corridors, but about the competitiveness of trade in Africa and the ease of doing business in Africa.

Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry, underscored the importance for Ghana to maintain collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat in order to benefit from the compact continent-wide.

“Although Africa is endowed with the natural resources to manufacture almost all of the 30,000 components of a vehicle, only three of the 55; Morocco, South Africa and Egypt are car manufacturers. We can no longer remain exporters of the very raw materials whose end products drive the global economy.

He added, “In Ghana, we will continue to take our role of collaborating with the AfCFTA Secretariat very seriously. We have established a national coordination office to lead the coordinated efforts of the multiple institutions required for successful implementation.

The Ghana Trade Roadshow was organized by Afreximbank in partnership with Oakwood Green Africa Limited, Ghana Free Zones Authority, Ghana Export Promotion Authority and the AfCFTA Secretariat.