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AU accepts Ghana's bid to host Continental Free Trade Area secretariat

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Ghana
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Ghana

The Executive Council of the African Union has accepted Ghana’s bid to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a source within the Ghanaian delegation at the ongoing AU Summit in Niamey, Niger has said.

According to the source, the decision has been recommended to the Heads of State and Governments for approval on Sunday, July 7.

Leaders at the African Union summit in Niger will also set a date for trading to begin in the African Continental Free Trade Area, a deal that 52 of the continent’s 55 states have signed, although only 25 have ratified it.

The bloc aims to ultimately remove trade barriers and tariffs between members.

The agreement is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of goods, people and investments, similar to the European Union.

This is expected to eventually unite the continent’s 1.27 billion people and its $3.4 trillion nominal gross domestic product.

Continental Free Trade Agreement : Benefits Ghana will derive from hosting secretariat

Ghana is among African countries like Senegal, Egypt, Madagascar and Ethiopia who have submitted bids to host the secretariat for the Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Twenty-four out of the fifty-four African countries have signed and ratified the agreement which came into force last month.

The agreement will allow for a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of businesses and investments and also pave way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Union and the African Customs Union.

Speaking to Joy FM on the sidelines of African Development Bank annual meeting in Equatorial Guinea, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta said the Continental Free Trade Agreement will create opportunities for Ghana to increase its manufacturing and production capacity.

"With all of these trade treaties there is always a sense that you might lose at the beginning or some country will be hard hit but in the end the totality of it creates new opportunities, my expectation is that with the clarion call for Ghana Beyond Aid and what we are doing in agriculture, industrialisation and 1D1F, we are priming ourselves to be able to take advantage of that and I also feel quite strongly that with our political stability, centring the headquarters in Ghana will just lead to a recognition that Ghana is the place to be and therefore the ancillary benefit of other multinational headquarters in Ghana is going to be real."

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Credit : Myjoyonline