The government of Ghana has agreed to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Ghana and commit every needed support to make the secretariat succeed.

President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo also announced Ghana’s donation of 10 million US Dollars to the African Union to support the operationalization of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana.

Government’s assurance comes after the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) had selected Ghana as the host country for the Secretariat of AfCFTA on July 7, 2019.

The core mandate of the Secretariat will be to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has since been ratified by 25 member states.

In his acceptance speech, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, thanked the Assembly for the selection, stating that “it is a privilege that, for the first time in our nation’s history, we have the responsibility of hosting an important pan-African institution.”

President Akufo-Addo expressed his gratitude to President Macky Sall of Senegal for stepping down Senegal’s candidature in favour of Ghana, and also showed his appreciation to the leadership of Egypt and Ethiopia for similar gestures of solidarity.

Whilst applauding the member states that had deposited their instruments of ratification at the AU Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the President of Ghana expressed his delight at the decision taken by Nigeria to sign up to the Agreement, stressing that “… the adhesion of Nigeria to the Free Trade Area has enhanced considerably its prospects of success.”

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With the formation of AfCFTA, now the world’s largest free trade area, since the formation of the World Trade Organization, the AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across the 54 member states of the African Union that have already signed the Agreement.

Ghana’s President said: “We have, today, taken very important steps towards working with a common voice and a common purpose to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our peoples. Indeed, the ‘Africa We Want’ is achievable.”

President Akufo-Addo assured his colleague Heads of State that Ghana will put all the requisite facilities at the disposal of the Secretariat, so that it can run as a world class organization.

The President indicated that the Secretariat shall enjoy the privileges and immunities stipulated in the OAU General Convention on privileges and immunities.

The President urged Assembly to direct the African Union Commission to prepare and execute a host-country agreement in accordance with the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/195 (VII) Rev.1 of July 2005 on hosting AU Organs; and hold consultations with Ghana and key stakeholders to prepare the statutes of the AfCFTA Secretariat with a view toward providing a report for the consideration of the Council of Ministers of Trade.

President Akufo-Addo also called on pan-African institutions such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the African Export-Import Bank and other key stakeholders to provide support towards the establishment of the Secretariat.

“I am determined to do whatever I can to guarantee the smooth take-off of the Secretariat and help make sure that, it turns out to be a world-class institution, which will become the pride and joy of all Africans.” He said.

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Source: A1radioonline.com | Moses Apiah | Ghana

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