UG: 2022 Annual New Year School and Conference to target Continental Trade

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
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The 74th edition of the Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) organized by the University of Ghana will help explore how to strengthen trade, industry, and commerce, leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

It will also throw the spotlight on how the African market can be positioned to spur sustainable economic growth on the continent in the midst of the current global economic downturn.

The ANYSC, which will be from Monday, January 16 to Thursday, January 19, this year, will discuss how AfCFTA will contribute to the socio-economic growth of the African continent.

The Director of the 74th ANYSC, Dr Simon-Peter Kafui Aheto, made this known to the Daily Graphic in an interview.

The School of Continuing and Distance Education is collaborating with the National AfCFTA Coordination Office to organise the 74th ANYSC on the theme: “Positioning the African market for sustainable economic development through the AfCFTA.”

The AfCFTA is a flagship programme of the African Union (AU) under its AU Agenda 2063 and it aims at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position on the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

Dr Aheto, who is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Distance Education of the School of Continuing and Distance Education College of Education (SCDE), said this year’s ANYSC reflected the University of Ghana’s leadership in national dialogue and demonstrated its commitment to sustainability issues.

He said the conference would focus on positioning the African market for sustainable economic development through AfCFTA.

He added that it would help explore the operationalisation of economic integration on the African continent, as well as discuss AfCFTA’s strategies in resolving the challenges of multiple and overlapping membership and expedite regional and continental integration processes.

Again, he said, it would help discuss the government’s commitment and AfCFTA’s expectations in creating a continent that was the hub for industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security.

On how the ANYSC had so far shaped the country’s development, Dr Aheto said one of its major outcomes was the release of communiqués at the end of each ANYSC which, according to him, had helped in shaping policies and also provoked further discussion of the themes within the public space.

Expected outcomes

On some of the expected outcomes of the 74th conference, he said adequate opportunities would be created to ensure non-partisan discourse on the theme and widely disseminate policy briefs, both locally and internationally.

He said it was also hoped that it would help contribute to the continent’s quest of advancing trade and industry with the aim of building a robust African economy that could sustainably contribute to growth in member countries.

He said the 74th ANYSC was expected to focus on promoting and facilitating the preparedness of and consolidating the AfCFTA efforts of key stakeholders, such as industry, the private sector, academia and governments, through the organisation of the first African Regional New Year School and Youth Conference.

On some of the special highlights of the school, Dr Aheto indicated that it was expected to host an African continental hybrid trade show and exhibition, with special focus on a youth technology platform.

As part of its future plans, he said, the ANYSC had plans of establishing an ANYSC Digital Village Complex on the Legon campus that would serve as an important hub for youth training and development in the country and on the continent at large.

That goal was in line with the government’s digitalisation agenda and the vision of the Vice-Chancellor, Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, on digitalisation, he explained.

Who to attend

On who could attend the school, the director said the event was opened to all, but more importantly trade unions, congresses and business associations, representatives from the Office of the President, the ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Communications and Education.

Other prospective attendees included persons from local government and rural development, education and business development, he said.

Municipal and district chief executives, assembly and unit committee members, members of academia, representatives of development partners, bilateral and multilateral organisations, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, traditional leaders and media houses could also attend, he added.

Dr Aheto said the conference would feature a number of thematically organised paper and panel sessions, which would include financial sector preparedness for the AfCFTA , business and industry preparedness for the AfCFTA, educational sector preparedness for the AfCFTA, governance, peace and security preparedness for the AfCFTA, digital technology development preparedness, women in trade and AfCFTA-Diaspora relations.

Important Highlights

Dr Aheto called on the public to fully participate in the school as their contribution to national and continental development.

He said the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was expected to open the school, with the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkelele Mena, as the keynote speaker and Daniel McKorley, the Chairman and President of the McDan Group, being the private sector collaborator of the conference, as the guest speaker.


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