Africa: Addis Ababa - President Paul Biya Rewarded

President Paul Biya addresses the United Nations (file photo)..

The African Electronic Group (Ae Trade Group) and the African Business Council rewarded him for his valued contribution to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

President Paul Biya of Cameroon is among the African Union Heads of State, the African private sector under the aegis of the African Electronic Group (Ae Trade Group) and the African Business Council recognised and rewarded for their valued contribution to the signing and ratification at their national levels of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. This made possible the start of trading under the Agreement on January 1, 2021 feasible with a commercially viable market.

The AfCFTA Ratification Appreciation Award Ceremony in recognition of these valued contributions took place on February 26, 2021 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ceremony was organised in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the Secretariat of the AfCFTA in the Majestic Mandela Hall. The Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ae Trade Group, Mulualem Syoum, speaking during the occasion, is cited of stating that the Commission was proud of African Heads of State and Government's resolve to create a large, competitive and attractive market to boost investment and trade. He reportedly indicated that the 2nd edition of the African Integration Day, to be commemorated on July 7, 2021, will provide an opportunity to take stock of the results achieved since the start of trading under African Continental Free Trade Area.

Cameroon's Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ewumbue Monono Churchill received the award on behalf of the Head of State, President Paul Biya from the hands of the President of the Interim Bureau of the African Business Council, Dr. Amany Asfour. Under the leadership of President Biya, Cameroon views the African Continental Free Trade Area as one key element of its strategy to increase the country's participation in the intra-African trade, enhance its economic diversification and in the process generate decent jobs and income, with a view to achieving the status of emerging country by 2035.

Considering the benefits of the AfCFTA to Cameroon, President Biya reportedly instructed the signing of its Agreement by Cameroon's Plenipotentiary at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on the AfCFTA on March 21, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. He signed the decree on October 31, 2019 following adoption by Parliament of the Law on July 19, 2019. Cameroon became the 33rd AfCFTA State Party on December 1, 2020 and has been participating in trading under the AfCFTA since January 1, 2021, in line with its schedules of tariff concessions for trade in goods and schedules of specific commitments for trade in services prepared and deposited with the African Union Commission.

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