Ghana has won the bid to host the Secretariat of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The country was chosen by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
The announcement was made Sunday, July 7, 2019, at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, after Ghana beat off competition from Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal.
The core mandate of the Secretariat will be to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has since been ratified by 25 member states.
In his acceptance speech, at the closing session of the Summit, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, thanked the Assembly for the decision.’
He stated: “It is a privilege that, for the first time in our nation’s history, we have the responsibility of hosting an important pan-African institution.”
He expressed gratitude to President Macky Sall of Senegal for stepping down Senegal’s candidature in favour of Ghana and also to the leaders of Egypt and Ethiopia, their Excellences Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Abiy Ahmed respectively, for similar gestures of solidarity.
The Ghanaian President applauded the member states that have deposited their instruments of ratification at the AU Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his delight at the decision taken by Nigeria to sign up to the Agreement, stressing that “the adhesion of Nigeria to the Free Trade Area has enhanced considerably its prospects of success.”
With the AfCFTA now the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, it will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across the fifty-four (54) Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the Agreement.
“We have, today, taken very important steps towards working with a common voice and a common purpose to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our peoples. Indeed, the ‘Africa We Want’ is achievable,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo assured his colleague Heads of State that Ghana would put all the requisite facilities at the disposal of the Secretariat so that it can run as a world-class organisation.