Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, has called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to build sustainable businesses at the local level to enable them participate fully in the single continental market.
“If you establish a process and it doesn’t resonate with the districts definitely it can never be implemented. AfCFTA is important because it brings together a number of national programmes, and we’ll need to develop a process where we can situate all of these national initiatives at the district levels to enhance implementation and leverage that to take advantage of the single market,” he said in an interview with Single African Market.
To be able to achieve this, he said there must be a conscious effort to build a sustainable rural economy that is underpinned by the productivity of small and medium enterprises and the growth of the rural private sector.
He added: “The small and medium enterprises and sole-owned businesses at the districts level, how can we support them? It begins with piloting a small number of districts, where this action of harnessing and bringing together the local economy and the opportunities of the AfCFTA could be realized.
If the districts are able to generate some internal revenue, any additional support from outside only adds up to build a robust local economy.”
According to the NDPC boss, MMDAs will have to support local business areas with huge growth potential as it will pay dividends in the form of taxes and enhance revenue mobilization at the rural level.
Dr. Abrampa said his outfit is working with the Local Government, Ministry of Trade and other stakeholders to facilitate targeted trainings for some districts where these interventions will result in real concrete action.
To him, the launching of the guidelines to foster the implementation of the AfCFTA at the districts level is only one step.
“The guidelines indicate a definite process agreed by all the institutions and stakeholders and that’s necessary and also provides a harmonized platform for the NDPC to approach the districts.
We want to get the districts to be familiar with the AfCFTA; what we want to do is to make sure that the vision is not just an NDPC vision, but one that has the district buy-in,” he indicated.