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PUBLISHED ON March 28th, 2024

AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocols To Deepen Economic Integration, Prosperity

The AfCFTA Agreement and Charter are aimed at providing a broader and deeper economic integration across the African Continent as well as attracting Trade Investment, boosting Trade, providing better jobs, reducing poverty, and increasing Economic prosperity in Africa.

On 14th March 2024, Stakeholders in Digital Trade Protocols assembled at the LA Palm Royal Beach Hotel to deliberate on the Role of Stakeholders in advancing the course of Digital Trade in Africa and assessing the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol in terms of its implementation and impact on Ghana that will leverage for trade barriers and restrictions that has affected trade investment in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, ODI.org, and the Global Policy House supported by UK International Development and Supporting Investment Trade in Africa (SITA).

Core issues discussed and assessed by the stakeholders Forum were Digital Trade and E-commerce as catalysts for addressing trade restrictions how digital Trade Protocol could contribute to GDP growth in GHANA and the role of the Private Sector in ensuring that these objectives of AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocols are achieved to better the lot of the African people.

According to Mr. Seidu who represented the Private Sector, AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocols well implemented could promote cohesive intra and inter-trading activities within Ghana and beyond. It will enhance Revenue collection and address the loopholes in revenue generation. Accordingly, he suggested an inter-agency conversation and political will to address cyber security, Data, and Internet penetration in the digital space through access to more digital centres across Ghana and enforcing Data Protection regulations to address cyber security. He also reiterated that over-regulation affected the harmony for trade facilitation and called on stakeholders to address this to make Digital Trade a reality In Ghana and Africa.

According to AfCFTA, the challenges confronting the smooth operation of Trade Investment in Africa are trade restrictions and barriers, inefficient and unreliable cross-border payment and to address this it requires progress in driving digital Trade, harmonizing legal and Policy Framework, as well as strategies to support digital Trade. Further, in a Keynote address by Mad. Adjoa Agyemang, AfCFTA reiterates the need for Collaboration between AfCFTA Digital Trade and the Private Sector through capacity building, technical assistance, digital infrastructure, and digital inclusion with a focus on SMEs.

The event was climaxed by a presentation from Mitchelle Chivunga, Africa Director of Global Policy House who said the implementation of the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol depends on the facilitation of Digital Trade Protocol and investment by reducing trade restrictions and barriers, harmonizing and standardization of content digital Trade, improving artificial intelligence such as Blockchain and Crypto Currency, better coordination among member States, clarity around compliance, customer relations, clarity and authentication of digital transactions. She emphasized that African States should encourage the implementation of the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol and also called on stakeholders to safeguard the sanctity of digital transaction codes developed by the African people and not to sell these codes to foreign portals for monetary gains because shortly these codes can better lot of African people through digital Trade transactions. She also called on Ghana and stakeholders to focus more on SMEs in the implementation of the AfCFTA digital Trade Protocol since that could address unemployment within the local economies through digital Trade.

Statistics provided by ODI posits that Ghana’s potential economic gains from the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol could enhance Ghana’s GDP growth to between $71. 3–$71. 7billion. It is also estimated that the value exports of in Ghana could potentially increase to between approximately $25.4 billion (low estimate) and $25.8 billion (high estimate) in line with projected export growth ranges of 15% to 16.9% if the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol is well implemented.

Present at the Forum were Mr. Max Mendez-Parra (ODI), Derrick Abudu (ODI), Mitchelle Chivunga, Africa Director, Global Policy House, Mad. Adjoa Agyemang, AfCTA, Peter Bismark, Executive Director ( Institute of Liberty and Policy Innovation, ILAPI), Dr. Michael Richmond Smart-Abbey, Public Policy Analyst and CEO, Sabre Security Consult, Mr. Dankwah from the Ghana Chamber of Commerce as well as representatives of Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communication, Ghana Revenue Authority and other Private Sector Advocates In Digital Trade Protocol.

About the author: Dr. Michael Richmond Smart-Abbey is a Security and governance Expert, Public Policy Analyst, and Theologian.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.