Africa: Only 958 Businesses Nationwide Aware of AfCFTA–GSS

Only 958 businesses across the country are said to be aware of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is expected to start on January 1, 2021, findings from the second wave of COVID-19 Business Tracker Survey has revealed.

This represented 26.2 per cent of firms interviewed between August 15 and September 20 this year by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

A total of 3,658 from the initial 4,311 firms from the first Business Tracker were re-interviewed to provide critical information to help the government, development partners and other organisations monitor the effects of the pandemic.

The Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Annim said this on Thursday at a press conference held in Accra.

He said the awareness of AfCFTA was more among the medium and large firms which represented 63.8 and 72.7 respectively while within the small and micro firms only 26.2 and 24.9 per cent were in the know of it.

According the Prof. Annim, though awareness of AfCFTA was low, 76 per cent of the businesses believed the implementation of it would bring transformation to their businesses .

He said both large and small firms, as well as medium-size firms believed that reduced cost of credit, increased information on business opportunities and removal of policy and regulatory bottlenecks, digitisation, business advisory services and information on business opportunities would be the support needed to make their firms useful and enable them sell their goods and service across the continent.

Prof. Annim said the number of firms in Ghana aware of the AfFCTA was worrisome and was unexpected, given that the intended benefits was enormous for businesses and the country at large.

He said the Service had taken steps to intensify the sensitisation of AfFCTA to ensure that businesses and firms in Ghana could leverage and benefits from the returns associated with it.

He also indicated that the findings had been shared with the Ministry of Finance and would be subsequently shared with relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“We expect the firms in Ghana would fully be aware of this intervention and will be educatedon the strategies by which they can harness the returns associated with it,” he added.

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