The event in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation, Ministry of Trade & Industry and under the aegis of the African Union, AFCFTA and The AfroChampions Initiative took place on Monday 29th August 2022 at 10am GMT at the Kofi Annan Centre in Accra.
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful-Minister of Communication and Digitalisation gave a welcome address and stated that ‘’The rollout of the AfCF TA Hub to ensure that Ghanaian businesses have a trusted profile beyond Ghana, to strengthen the hands of industry and regulators to fight fraudsters who will also like to use the AfCFTA to regionalise their nefarious activities, and to facilitate marketplace convergence and regulatory efficiency, thereby speeding the integration agenda of AfCFTA, is an idea long overdue but one that is finally here, live and coloured. With your inputs and ideas, distinguished stakeholders, we can make it not merely successful but spectacular I am very happy, on behalf of the government, to declare the AfCFTA Hub officially launched in Ghana!’’
The event also welcomed keynote speakers from various industries including:
- Representative of Association of Ghana Industries- Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke – AGI President
- Head of Strategic Communications, Representative of the National Coordinator of AfCFTA NCO-Ghana – Hon. Catherine Afeku
- Principal Communications Advisor, AfCFTA Secretariat – Mrs Grace Khoza
- Deputy Minister of Trade and lndustry – Hon Herbet Krapa
- Representative of the Vice President – Hon Augustine Blay (Secretary to H.E The Vice President)
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful on a high level dialogue said:
- Government cannot provide employment for all graduates yearly therefore, AFCFTA will serve as a bridge that can lead to a greater bank of support in the greater market platform for individual enterpreneurs to promote their small businesses on a global market
- AFCFTA will create a means for the young people to find access to markets,raw materials and for logistics service providers to know where opportunities are because it’s a hub where various services will be available for various actors.
- The AFCFTA number is a trusted business identifier for SMEs. it is like a Ghana card for businesses that want to trade on the AFCFTA platform across the continent
- AFCFTA platform will curb cyber fraud thanks to the AFCFTA number that will instill trust on the platform given it is verifiable and traceable . The telcos will equally cordinate efforts to have a regional anti-fraud grid which will bring comfort to everyone.
- The government can ensure that government contractors buy from YouStart enterpreneurs to ensure a vibrant sustainable eco-system.
AfCFTA Hub Kicks start in Ghana
In furtherance of the Government of Ghana’s digitization agenda, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC), have launched the “AfCFTA Hub” concept in Ghana to promote, enhance and advance digital trading, electronic commerce, and -marketplace transactions in general. Ghana’s strong ambition is not just to become a digital entrepot for regional trade but also an active shaper of the business Innovation landscape. In becoming one of the seven pioneer pilot countries in the AfCFTA Secretariat’s Guided Trade Initiative, Ghana is also becoming a Tested for creating a practical incubator and accelerator for ramping up new ways of doing economic integration in Africa.
The AfCFTA Hub is an initiative involving the AfCFTA Secretariat and several governments, with AfroChampions and its private sector backers providing technology and policy support.
This AfCFTA Hub Network is thus joining forces with the Government of Ghana to accelerate the deployment of the various modules of the AfCFTA Hub in Ghana with initial emphasis on the AfCFTA Number and AfCFTA Common Transactions Reference Framework (a complementary protocol: ProPer Seals is being launched separately).
The AfCFTA Hub project seeks to digitize collaboration among key national and regional actors to accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA (Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement). At the heart of the AfCFTA Hub system is the idea of an “AfCFTA Number” a trusted business identifier for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), startups and other economic actors. The AfCFTA Number is a “unique code per entity” model designed to lead to a Trusted Business Directory of economic actors that build social credit by maintaining compliance with the necessary regulatory criteria for doing business. A green rating mechanism is also available at green.4DCorridor.org.
The launch of the AfCFTA Hub and AfCFTA Number mechanisms in Ghana is expected to have the following benefits:
- Suppression of fraud in e-commerce and digital trading by simplifying background checks on e-traders and other businesses that offer services online.
- Quicker exchange of regulatory intelligence among government agencies to ensure sound compliance.
- A readymade platform for different operators, such as traders, buyers, and logistics providers, to interact and do business not just in Ghana but also, in time, across the subregion.
In view of this, the Ministry of Communication and Digitisation has directed all persons and enterprises engaged in the business of courier, postal, delivery, logistics, ridesharing, e-commerce, digital trading, and any enterprise of that nature to obtain an AfCFTA Number.
The minister advised mega-platforms such as Uber, Glovo, Bolt, Jumia, Tonaton, Yango, Amazon, and others to ensure that all businesses registered on their platforms promptly secure their AfCFTA Number and start taking the necessary steps to integrate their transaction processing systems with the AfCFTA Hub. The minister noted that the regulation of such enterprises which hitherto had been a grey area shall henceforth be strengthened by requiring electronic registration with PCSRC, and where necessary with NITA and the Cybersecurity Authority through the digital interface available on the AfCFTA Hub at www.afcfta.app.
As more African countries onboard the AfCFTA Hub, as part of the upcoming Guided Trade pilot, the emergence of a one-stop-shop for regulatory compliance across the subregion will make the lives of entrepreneurs very easy. This means customers of businesses and services will also be able to vet the businesses they engage, thus avoiding scammers and fraudsters.
Without regional solutions, criminals will exploit the gaps among countries to evade apprehension. The NCA, the Ghana Chamber of Telecoms, telecom operators, the Ghana ISP Association and related bodies are strongly urged to speed up the rollout of the AfCFTA Hub across all telecom networks as a common anti-fraud engine, trusted business directory service and AfCFTA Implementation Accelerator in Ghana.