History will be made when African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) kick-starts guided trade initiative in Accra today. It will be launched by the AfCFTA Secretariat in collaboration with the National AfCFTA Coordination Office under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The launch will take place at a ceremony to be held at the Jubilee Lounge of the Kotoka International Airport and it will coincide with the 10th Council of Ministers (CoM) meeting to be held in Accra. The Initiative will symbolise the commencement of commercially meaningful trade on a pilot basis between Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Tunisia. These countries were selected to represent the five African Union regions, namely: Western, Central, Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa respectively. The Guided Trade Initiative aims to test the readiness of participating state parties under the AfCFTA, demonstrate that the AfCFTA trading documentations are operational and viable and confirm that the Customs and Revenue Authorities of the participating countries under the AfCFTA agreement are ready to process imports and exports. Under the Guided Trade Initiative, Keda Ceramics of Ghana will export ceramic tiles to Cameroon. Benso Oil Palm Plantation is also slated to export palm kernel oil to Kenya and Ghana will also receive approved goods from participating State Parties. The Guided Trade Initiative is a very significant step towards realising the African dream of boosting trade with each other and developing closer economic ties among State Parties. The Government of Ghana has put in place robust support mechanisms to ensure that Ghanaian companies are empowered to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA. Under the direction and guidance of Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry, the National AfCFTA Coordination Office is also working with over 200 identified companies to help build their capacities to enhance the competitiveness in the African markets. Following the official launch of the commercially meaningful trade, the National AfCFTA Coordination Office in collaboration with other Ghanaian agencies will be undertaking market expeditions to lead Ghanaian businesses to explore selected African markets to trade under AfCFTA. On January 1, 2021 the AfCFTA Secretariat formally started trading under the AfCFTA agreement. Since then, the Secretariat and State Parties have been working to put in place structures, procedures, processes, protocols, and documentations needed to enable the commencement of commercially viable trade amongst State Parties.
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