By Maxwell Ofori, Kigali, Rwanda
President Akufo-Addo has arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, for the Extraordinary African Union (AU) Summit.
He was accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry, and officials of the Presidency and the Foreign Ministry.
The President is leading the Ghanaian-delegation to the Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, who are signatories of the AU.
The Extraordinary Summit would witness the signing of an agreement that would launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), intended to make Africa “the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.”
The Free Trade Area is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, and aims to deepen the integration process, by allowing Africans to trade and move freely across the continent.
The project is being driven forward along with other key-related initiatives such as the Single African Air Transport Market, the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, and the African Passport.
“By signing and ratifying it, we would signal that we are determined to play our part as a global player, while promoting the continent’s economic interests as one, through a single African market.”
The Kigali Extraordinary Summit was agreed to during the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held in Addis Ababa in late January this year.
Information gathered on the Summit indicates steady progress, despite earlier setbacks, including snubs by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.
Nigeria’s President Buhari opted out of the Kigali Conference on Sunday, saying he wanted further domestic consultation on the continental deal, after media reports said labour unions in Africa’s largest economy had warned against the deal.
The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged countries to overcome fears and self-interests, as they continue to be barriers of regional trade and growth, reports indicate.