The World Bank, in partnership with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), at an event held in Accra yesterday, elucidated on how Ghana could leverage trade policy to accelerate export diversification and economic transformation. The Bank also launched a report, following ten years of research, on trade competiveness, titled “Ghana Trade Competiveness Diagnostics.” The report looks at strengthening Ghana’s trade competiveness in the context of AfCFTA, while examining Ghana’s export competiveness for goods and services over the pre-Covid period.
Speaking at the programme, Mr. Herbert Krapa, deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, said the government would invest in trade-related infrastructure. “We can take advantage of the AfCFTA to invest in infrastructure, making sure we have enough policy contexts. We can also rely on the report to do a better job of promoting trade competiveness in the country,” he highlighted.
The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. Pierre La Porte, taking his turn, also stated that the World Bank was happy to produce this report, at a time that the government was seeking to achieve economic transformation, increased opportunities for job creation and poverty reduction.
He further stated that the choice for policy makers was no longer whether to support services or manufacturing, but how to best leverage the potential of the services sector to deliver productivity growth, export growth, and job creation.
“The report examines the policy implications of emerging trends in value chains and the potential economic impact of AfCFTA on Ghana’s economy,” he said.
“The potential benefit offered by the AfCFTA (0.5% additional GDP growth per annum over next ten years) is very significant. This should motivate Ghana to harness the transformative potential of trade by cultivating export-oriented activities in both manufacturing and services and following up with the outstanding negotiations and implementation of the AfCFTA protocols,” the Country Director reiterated.
The Co-Author of the report, Daniel Kwabena Boakye, on his part, made reference to the key findings in the book. According to him, “Ghana’s merchandise trade competiveness, especially in the non-extractive sector, has declined over the last decade of 2010-2019, resulting in the decline in number of exporting firms and the level of participation in Global Value Chains.”
He added, “Nonetheless, there have been improvements in transport logistics and access to ICT infrastructure, which can be leveraged for more diversified trade and economic transformation. The establishment of AfCFTA offers significant opportunities for increased intra-Africa trade and deeper regional integration.”
Daniel Kwabena Boakye suggested that “To take advantage of the emerging opportunities under AfCFTA and GVCs, Ghana needs to strengthen its trade competiveness through elimination of non-tariff barriers, implementation of trade facilitation reforms, enhanced regulatory framework for trade in services and improvement of the investment and business environment.”
The Co-Author concluded that “Ghana is well positioned to leverage trade in services, including logistics, foreign direct investment and trade policy to consolidate the country’s comparative advantage as a hub for business and financial services in the West Africa sub-region.”
Panelists for the event, Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour of the Centre for Research in Economic Development and International Trade (CREDIT) and Prof. John Asafu-Adjaye, Senior Fellow at Africa Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), noted that Ghana needs to do a lot as a country in terms of our competiveness, and the report will help to drive us to what we are looking for in a sustainable economy.
By Love Wilhelmina Abanonave