“... if Africa is going to move forward and if Liberia is going to move forward, we need to look within and establish a trade area that will become a block that competes with other trade blocks in the global space,” Amb. Nkrumah said.
ECOWAS Ambassador, Josephine Nkrumah, has emphasized that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents a unique opportunity for Liberia to enhance its economic growth and development.
"There are so many countries that are beginning to trade from West to East, West to North, and East to South and making noise about it," she explained. "As Africans, I really believe that our time is now. Africa and AfCFTA are ready and open for business."
The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services across Africa, promoting intra-African trade and boosting economic integration. By eliminating tariffs on 90% of goods traded within the continent, it encourages increased trade volumes, diversification of exports, and job creation.
As the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, she highlighted the importance of Liberians fully embracing this agreement and actively participating in its implementation.
Nkrumah made these statements on July 20, at a day-long sensitization workshop for Economic Operators on the AfCFTA, organized by ECOWAS in collaboration with USAID and the Liberia Chambers of Commerce.
According to her, with this new trade policy within West Africa and Africa, Liberia cannot and must not leave behind this new dimension.
She told the participants that the workshop provided the requisite platform for exchange between the private and public stakeholder’s dialogue on trade policy, sharing experiences, especially as the private sector, and getting the public sector to understand what the challenges are while proposing to them (stakeholders).
"I believe strongly that Liberian businesses are equally competitive in also offering their services, goods, and products to West Africa and Africa as a continent. I believe if Africa is going to move forward and if Liberia is going to move forward, we need to look within and establish a trade area that will become a block that competes with other trade blocks in the global space," said Nkrumah.
She said ECOWAS has adopted and put together protocols that will enable member states, including Liberia, to trade with each other.
"How do we continue this conversation beyond this workshop?" Nkrumah asked. "We must push, we must persevere, and we must be persistent because without it, we limit our own potential within Liberia, and I think there is so much more that Liberia has to offer the rest of the region and Africa."
She used the occasion to call on Liberia to push for such an incredible trade agreement in the region.
Nkrumah said AfCFTA would create a larger market for Liberian goods and services. By removing trade barriers and tariffs among African countries, Liberian businesses would gain access to a market of over 1.3 billion people.
“This expanded market, she added, would provide new opportunities for local entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and exporters to increase their sales and expand their operations.”
Furthermore, the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia stressed that AfCFTA would also encourage regional integration and cooperation among African nations. By promoting intra-African trade, the agreement aims to strengthen economic ties between countries within the continent.
“This integration would not only foster economic growth but also enhance political stability and social development in the region,” she maintained.
Nkrumah also disclosed that Liberia is one of the last few countries within West Africa to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
She also believes very strongly that despite the motivation that some countries have shown to really open their doors to trade within Africa and West Africa, Liberia can do the same.
Nkrumah added that she looks forward to the future that Liberia will ratify the AfCFTA and where Liberian businesses would benefit.