The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) may enslave Africans to the rest of the world if the challenges associated with the programme are not fixed, the Citizen Watch, a think tank group has revealed.
Currently, it is estimated that Ghana needs about US$5billion for the next 10 years to support the private sector to enable it compete favorably with its peers.
“What our leaders ought to know is that they are in to take advantage of our resources, by scooping everything we have in the country without bringing in anything”, it said in a statement signed by Elikem Agbenyegah, the leader of the group.
“The government don’t have the funds to support the local industries to enable them compete with its peers, however, the foreign companies would come in with their resources to establish huge factories in the country. They would export the products to neighboring countries and make their returns on investments, which would be a major disadvantage to us”, it said.
“Until these challenges are fixed, the AfCFTA will be a conduit for foreign companies to come and take advantage of Africa and sweep our income. They will get cheap label, cheap labour, no entry duties, sell the products to us and carry our money away. This would be the biggest slavery ever to hit the soil of Africa”, it emphasized
“Our first challenge and focus should have been import substitution and how we can capitalize on that. Then after which we look into exporting to other African countries base on our competitive advantage but we have turned everything upside down” the statement further added.
It wanted the government to put on hold the AfCTA programme and rather negotiate for some treaties with its peers within the ECOWAS sub-region which it said could have be more beneficial to the country.
“We cannot talk about AfCFTA without local capacity. We have not been able to meet local demand, so how do we prepare to export. We consider the AfCFTA programme as a premature project and should be put on hold until we have been able to fix the challenges”, it pointed out.
“But because our leaders have been blindfolded by the foreign investors, they have gone ahead to sign on to the AfCTA without any critical assessment forgetting that the continent was not prepared for it”, it added
The AfCFTA aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the member states, covering trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy.
Other continental frameworks include Boosting Intra African Trade (BIAT) which aims to deepen Africa’s market integration and significantly increasing the volume of trade that African countries undertake amongst themselves from the current levels of about 10-13% to 25% or more within the next decade. .
The agenda 2063 is also the blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the strategic framework for delivering on Africa’s goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.