14 May 2019

Africa: Hosting of Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat We Are Ready! ... President Makes Case for Ghana

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made a case for Ghana to host the secretariat of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

The President, in a meeting with officials from the Africa Union (AU) at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday, said Ghana had the facilities to host the secretariat of the continental trade market.

Aside the country's strong attachment to the AU project and regional and continental integration, he said Ghana's capital would provide an efficient centre for the work of the CFTA.

The CFTA agreement, which was brokered by the AU last year, requires members to remove up to 90 per cent tariffs on goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

The CFTA, if ratified by all parties involved, will be the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

President Akufo-Addo told the AU delegation that Ghana's third president under the Fourth Republic, Prof. J.E.A Mills, was one of the early advocates of the free trade area concept.

That, he said, coupled with Ghana's active involvement in the activities of the union in the past decades, made the country an ideal centre to host the secretariat of the CFTA.

While expressing Ghana's commitment towards making the CFTA a reality, he said the agreement, when fully ratified by all members, would be critical to the development of the continent.

President Akufo-Addo believes that scaling up regional and continental trade will help improve the welfare of citizens on the continent.

The leader of the delegation, Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, said her team was assessing a number of countries that had offered to host the CFTA and indicated that Ghana was among the countries that offered to host the secretariat.

She said the selection of a host would be carefully chosen because the country would have a significant impact on the continent by facilitating efforts to open up borders for intra-Africa trade.

"This secretariat would be a gateway in making sure that we fulfill the aspirations and everything that we want to do under the CFTA," she said.

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