ACCRA — Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has handed over the edifice housing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to the African Union (AU) for the commencement of work.
Akufo-Addo on Monday said in his handing-over remarks that Ghana had fully discharged all of its obligations and commitments agreed with the AU Commission. He said the country was presenting a fully-furnished and befitting office space, in a secured and easily accessible location within the business center of Accra as the permanent secretariat of the AfCFTA.
“We, in Ghana, believe that an increase in trade is the surest way to deepen regional integration in Africa. It will mean a rapid increase in the exchange of agricultural, industrial, financial, scientific, and technological products,” Akufo-Addo said.
The president added that such activities would significantly enhance the continent’s economic fortunes, create prosperity, and provide opportunities for employment for the broad masses of Africans, particularly the youth. “The economic integration of Africa will lay a strong foundation for an Africa Beyond Aid, while effective implementation of the AfCFTA will dispel the notion that the AU is not capable of executing its own decisions,” he added. The operationalization of the secretariat and the start of trading activities suffered a delay due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Although we had to postpone the operationalization of the secretariat due to COVID-19, the same pandemic has also magnified the urgent need to accelerate the economic integration of the continent, said chairman of the AU Commission Moussa Faki. He said the crisis, with its negative impact on trade and the multilateral system, had also become an opportunity to rethink the continent’s value chains and to reduce its reliance on traditional supply routes.