In a recent study conducted by CUTS International and GIZ Ghana, it was revealed that a staggering 88% of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana lack international certification, hindering their ability to tap into the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA).
Isaac Yaw Obeng, Head of Research at CUTS International, emphasized the potential barrier this poses for local businesses during a Public-Private Dialogue on the Private Sector Role and Participation in the AfCFTA. He noted, “Most SMEs lack the capacity to reach out to partners across the world.”
The study further disclosed that only 29% of SMEs have a website for customer connection, and 39% rely on emails for communication. Mr. Obeng stressed the importance of building global connections, stating, “This will be a barrier to local businesses.”
Regarding financial services, the findings indicated that 70% of small enterprises operate using bank accounts within the country. Mr. Obeng commented positively on this, saying, “Over 70 percent of them use bank accounts, which I think is good news for us, and we hope they continue that way.”
Appiah Kusi-Adomako, the West African Regional Director for CUTS International, urged Ghanaian SMEs to develop robust management systems to effectively participate in the AfCFTA. He emphasized the need for both strategic planning by SMEs and government support, stating, “Ghanaian SMEs are doing a great job, but in fighting for the AfCFTA and benefiting from it, I think it's time they try to devise strategies to benefit from the AfCFTA. The government must also step in and support them in this quest.”
The study's objective is to enhance the framework conditions that will unlock the potential of the AfCFTA for small and medium enterprises in Ghana. SMEs, especially small-scale enterprises, are encouraged to build their capacities to trade effectively as the AfCFTA gains momentum.