Africa’s continental economic integration was given quite a big boost on the 17th of August, 2020 in Accra, Ghana just like Pan Africanism 57 years ago. This appeal was made in Accra, when the Secretariat of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was commissioned and handed over, by President Akuffo-Addo of Ghana. During his address the President reiterated the importance of the body to Africa’s economic transformation Agenda.
He expressed joy that even though there were many who did not believe that African countries were not ready to meet the required minimum threshold of twenty-two (22) member states ratifications needed for AfCFTA to come into effect, but twenty-eight (28) is on record to have ratified the Agreement. President Akuffo-Addo paid glowing tributes to the dynamic leadership of our first President of Kwame Nkrumah and those other people who made huge sacrifices to spearhead the struggle for the liberation African countries from colonialism, imperialism, and apartheid.
“An effective implementation of AfCFTA will dispel the notion that the AU is not capable of executing its own decisions. Africa’s new sense of urgency and aspiration of true self-reliance will be amply demonstrated by the Commissioning and Handing Over ceremony,” President Akuffo-Addo said. He appealed to all African Union member states yet to ratify the agreement, to take advantage of the rescheduling of date for the start of trading to do so by December 2020, to enable African countries trade fully amongst themselves ‘to harness the benefits of AfCFTA together’ President Akuffo-Addo added.
The AfCFTA Secretariat is located in an ultra-modern office complex in the central business district of Accra. As I said earlier 28 countries have ratified the agreement, but so far, the agreement has been signed 54 countries, making it the fastest ratification in the history of the African Union.
The new AfCFTA Secretary General also reiterated that the AfCFTA offers Africa an opportunity to confront the significant trade and economic development challenges of our time including market fragmentation, smallness of national economies, over reliance on the export of primary commodities, lack of export specialization, and high regulatory and tariff barrier barriers to intra-Africa trade amongst others. Ghana is pushing for the successful implementation of the agreement to ensure the overall unity, integration and economic emancipation of Africa like EU, etc.