Africa To Be Free-Trade Hub By 2018
By the first quarter of 2018, Africa will become a continental free-trade hub to enable small- and mediums-scale enterprises (SMEs) export goods duty-free and quota-free across the continent.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen at the maiden edition of the Ghana SME CEOs summit in Accra on Monday, 20 November 2017,
He, therefore, encouraged SMEs to scale up and to take advantage of the African market.
Mr Kyerematen further disclosed that under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), SMEs can enjoy exporting some 6,400 products to the US market duty-free.
Delivering the key note address, Mr Kyerematen said: “There is an economic partnership agreement, which allows us duty-free and quota-free to the whole of Europe. If SMEs can recalibrate their own production processes to meet the quality standards demanded by the EU market, I can assure you that this is where you can start making progress in terms of scaling up. So, when you want to scale up, you need to be able to sell and that’s where export becomes important.
“Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), SMEs can export 6,400 products and over to the United States market duty-free and quota-free and I think that it’s time that our SMEs take this also very serious.
“Beyond that, the biggest thing that is going to happen to Africa is the establishment of the continental free-trade area. By the first quarter of 2018, Africa is going to become one continental free-trade area and this provides significant opportunities for SMEs to scale up and to take advantage of the African market. So, you don’t need to be deterred about the challenges that you have in exporting to Nigeria. It means you can export now to South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and all over Africa.”