President Akufo-Addo is hopeful Ghana will deepen its relationship with other African countries following the operationalization of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCTA.
He has further expressed optimism that the agreement will facilitate the strengthening of bonds between African countries.
The President was speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of work for the construction of a Chancellery in Addis Ababa.
“We are looking forward to renewing the relationship with the building of this Chancellery. We have a determination towards establishing a strong relation in this new vision of Africa that is emerging. It is a single market in an Africa continent with a free trade area. All the countries have a big role to play in making that a success.”
Already, Nana Akufo-Addo has assured the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union that the Secretariat of the AfCFTA will be operational by 31st March, 2020.
The AfCTA is aimed at improving intra- African trade to among other things, create a single market, deepen the economic integration of the continent, establish a liberalized market through multiple rounds of negotiations and aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment.
With Ghana serving as Chair of Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Nana Akufo-Addo told Heads of State and representatives of 27 Member States that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure that Member States recommit themselves to the work of COMSATS, and to reposition the Commission to support the collective drive for development, leveraging science, technology and innovation.
Outlining the activities that are being undertaken by Ghana, the President indicated that the reconfiguration of the office premises based on the specific requirements agreed with the AU Commission, including the installation of critical Data and IT infrastructure facilities, security systems, office furnishing, and corporate branding of the AfCFTA Office complex, has been done.
He also stated that “the acquisition and furnishing of the residence of the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, based on the requirements agreed with the AU Commission” has been completed, with the “initiation of negotiations with real estate companies for residential accommodation for other AfCFTA staff.”
In addition to the finalization of arrangements of health and educational facilities for AfCFTA management and staff, the President stated that a dedicated booth at the Kotoka International Airport, to facilitate entry and exit requirements of AfCFTA officials, as well as representatives of Member States, who will be conducting official business with the AfCFTA Secretariat, has been secured.
South Africa’s Wamkele Mene voted as Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat
A South African, Wamkele Mene, has been voted as the first Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA), at the ongoing 33rd ordinary session of the heads of state and government of the African Union.
The 40-year-old has previously worked as the Head of Mission to the World Trade Organisation for South Africa.
Mene’s appointment was settled by voting by heads of state following intense debates after Nigeria attempted to block Mene’s appointment by putting up arguments in favour of their preferred candidate, Cecilia Akintomide, a banker from their country.
Mene will now be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the newly created continental trade body, which will oversee the implementation of a tariff-free trade regime.
Wamkele Mene was South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations.
Prior to assuming this position, Wamkele was a senior trade diplomat, negotiating on behalf of South Africa at the World Trade Organisation.