Ghana Bids For AU Free Trade Secretariat

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah (right) briefing the Delegation at the VIP Lounge of the KIA shortly after arrival

A 10-Member African Union (AU) Trade Delegation has arrived in Ghana.

The Delegation is in town to assess Ghana’s facilities and preparedness to host the Secretariat of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

The Delegation is being led by Ambassador Rosette Nyirin Kindi Katungye, AU Advisor on Regional Integration, Bureau of the AU Chairperson.

Ghana has placed a bid to host the Secretariat or Headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Six other nations including Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal, Madagascar, are also bidding to host the Secretariat.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkora, received the Delegation at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) upon arrival on Monday, May 13, 2019.

Briefing journalists after the receiving the delegation, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah indicated that Ghana had world-class residential and office facilities to host the Secretariat.

He was optimistic that Ghana would benefit immensely from hosting the Secretariat.

The Minister pointed out that it would lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs in the country.

Ambassador Kindi Katungye told journalists that the CFTA would be one of significant components of the African Union Agenda 2063 flagship project.

She says the AU “looks forward to working with Ghana to assess and validate that which you are so generously offering.”

Objectives of CFTA

CFTA, among other things, seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.

It also seeks to expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general.

It would be recalled that the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017.

The Summit at the time also endorsed the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) which identifies seven clusters: trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor market integration.

The CFTA is expected to bring together 54 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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