Yofi Grant - CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant has admonished member countries of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the pandemic to accelerate development through trade.
According to him, Africa needs to come to terms with the crisis and reposition because he believes this could help the continent become self-reliant.
In a recent report by the World Bank, it suggests that sub-Saharan Africa may go into the worst recession in 25 years due to the COVID-19.
It also suggests that the continent’s economy will decline from a growth of 2.4%, last year, which could cause the region to lose between $37 billion to $79 billion in output due to trade and value chain disruption.
However, Mr. Yofi believes that misfortune has a fortune in it hence Africa should make the best out of it.
"Now is the time to also look at smart cities. But, now is the time Africa, through AfCFTA, is building one big common market where we can develop ourselves, manufacture for ourselves and use our own resources for our own development. We can’t be the richest continent and yet have poor people," He said.
He further stated that:
"preparedness is how you make yourself and I think the continent is ready. We’re seeing new leadership on the continent. There are young African persons who are portraying leadership skills, creating stuff and that one big market will be the single largest tariff-free market in the world."
AfroChampions, an African Union-mandated network to coordinate private sector discussions around Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), urged African ministers to implement AfCFTA.
The policy and advocacy think tank addressed the African ministers in a letter emphasising that the initiative is to the benefit of the continent especially the private sector.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many debates have emerged on whether the long-awaited implementation of AfCFTA agreement which is due on July 1, 2020 would be delayed for up to a year as a result of the economic crisis associated with the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) and other bodies haven’t formally confirmed any intention to pause their plans.