President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has advocated for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be established in Ghana.
The President said Ghana has the facilities to provide an efficient centre for the work of the Secretariat.
He noted further that it was time that the African Union (AU) recognised the sacrifices Ghana had made towards the African Agenda and hoped that when members meet in July this year, it would become a reality.
President Akufo-Addo made these remarks when the AU inspection team, tasked by the Continental Body, to inspect and identify a suitable country to host AfCFTA Secretariat, paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
Members of the Team include Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, Mr. Prudence Sebahizi, Mr. Chiza Charles Newton CHIUMYA and Dr. Guy-Fleury Ntwari.
The rest are: Mr. Alem Gebreamlak Kidane, Ms. Lesedi Rantao, Mr. David Luke, Mr. Inye Briggs, and Mr. Michel Jeremias Freire Cabral
Forty-four Heads of State and governments of the African Union (AU), including Ghana, on Wednesday, 21st March 2018, signed an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Additionally, 45 members signed the Protocol Establishing the African Economic Community―Free Movement of Persons and Right of Residence―while 43 member states signed the Kigali Declaration.
Experts say the signing and implementation of the treaty on the AfCFTA will result in an increase in intra-African trade by 52 percent by the year 2022, culminating in substantial improvement in the lives of African people. Ghana's President, Akufo-Addo, was in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign for his country.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana's involvement had gone to the extent of seeing these development - regional markets, continental markets - as very critical to the nation's development.
"...and that we have been and continue to play an active part as we want to ensure that these markets become reality and also deliver on the commitment to improve on the welfare of our people."
The President apprised the team that trade between members states on the continent had been the lowest among the regions of the world and that it was imperative efforts were made to intensify and scaled up regional, as well as, continental trade and interactions among members.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana, OAU, AU and continental projects, were synonymous with the Pan Africa Projects that had been part of Ghana's history.
Ghana's First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the President noted, was determined to anchor African Projects as part of the country public policy, adding, this had continued to be the spring on which the country approaches all matters in African.
President Akufo-Addo recalled Ghana's former President, John Evans Atta Mills who moved the motion for the adoption of the AfCFTA, indicating that, that was how far and systematic it has been the Ghanaian commitments to the idea.
The leader of the team, Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, expressed the team's happiness for the warm reception received at the Presidency.
She assured President Akufo-Addo of their professionalism as they were excellent professionals who had been commissioned by the AU to carry out this noble task of inspecting and identifying a suitable location for the establishment of AfCFTA Headquarters which would significantly champion the aspirations of the continent.
Despite the cynicism, the establishment of the AfCFTA, according to the Chairperson of AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, would result in a unified market of over 1. 2 billion people, with a combined gross product of over US$3 trillion."
The AfCFTA is a culmination of a vision that was set forth nearly 40 years ago in the Lagos Plan of Action, adopted by Heads of State in 1980. That undertaking led directly to the Abuja Treaty, establishing the African Economic Community in 1991.
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