President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo will today, inaugurate and hand over the secretariat for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to the African Union Commission.
Ghana won the bid in July 2019 to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA; and as part of the obligations and commitments in the Host Country Agreement, the country is required to provide a fully-furnished office complex as the secretariat headquarters and an official residence for the Secretary-General.
This also makes the country responsible for overseeing implementation of the agreement. The country has committed to donating US$10million for operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Ghana was among the first group of countries to ratify the agreement on 10 May 2018, following the 21 March 2018 signing of the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, by 44 AU member-states The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after ratification by the required 22 AU member-states.
The AfCFTA provides an opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people in a US$2.5trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. The AfCFTA’s main objectives are to create a continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent.
The AfCFTA is further expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level – through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access, and better reallocation of resources.
It is envisioned that the country’s decision to host the secretariat for the trade pact will lead to promoting Ghana as an investment hub in the sub-region, and further provide job opportunities for the country.
In his acceptance speech at the summit in Niger, where Ghana was selected as host of the secretariat, President Akufo-Addo said his administration will do his best to ensure a smooth take-off of the trade pact that has great potential to change the continent’s fortunes.
“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. I am determined to do whatever I can to guarantee a smooth take-off of the secretariat, and help make sure it turns out to be a world-class institution that will become the pride and joy of all Africans.
“We owe it to generations yet unborn to ensure establishment of the biggest trading bloc on the globe, whose outcomes will be rewarding to all and which will assist to ensure that the aim of attaining ‘the Africa We Want’ does not falter,” he said.