By Maxwell Ofori
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has convinced a ten-member delegation from the Africa Union (AU), who are in the country to assess Ghana’s capabilities to host the Headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) Secretariat.
At a meeting held yesterday at Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo made a solid case for Ghana on why it was in a better position to have the Secretariat, as compared to other bidding countries.
Making his argument through a friendly but formal interaction, President Akufo-Addo told the delegation that Ghana had, over the years, committed itself to being an active member of the AU, working to better the lives of people on the continent.
The President said Ghana’s involvement in the activities on the continent were evident through the policies its governments rollout, which benefit the entire continent at large.
President Akufo-Addo, having chronicled Ghana’s contributions to the African Continent, with particular mention of trade, added that if the need had come for the continent to have a common trade area, “you have our (Ghana) full support,” he told the delegation, but, swiftly opined with tactful lobbying prowess, that it would not be out of place to have the headquarters of the AfCFTA sited in Ghana, because, “we have the facilities.”
He went ahead to convince further, this time citing the late Professor Evans Atta-Mills for being the leader who moved the motion for the adoption of the CFTA concept, adding, “that is how systematic the Ghanaian commitment has been to this idea.”
“I believe that we have the facilities here to be able to provide an efficient centre for the work of the Secretariat,” noting further that it could also be a show of appreciation for the steadfast contribution of Ghana to the AU.
Optimistic Akufo-Addo believed Ghana has a good case, and that by the end of the delegation’s visit, it would be obvious Ghana was ready to host the Headquarters of the CFTA.
Ghana is among seven-member countries of the AU which are bidding to have the Headquarters of the CFTA built in their countries. The other bids are from Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Madagascar.
Giving her brief remarks, the head of the delegation, Ugandan Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, an advisor on Regional Integration at the Bureau of the Office of the AU Chairperson, indicated that Ghana was among the very first countries that availed itself to have the headquarters stationed in its country.
She added that the trade centre would go a long way to have a significant impact on the mode of trade on the African Continent.
The impact, she expatiated, would include “the way we (Africa) do business; the way we open up our borders for intra-African trade,” and also, the agreement would be a gateway to enable Africa fulfill all aspirations.
The other nine members who made up the delegation were Mr. Prudence Sebahizi, Mr. Chiza Charles Newton Chiumya, Dr. Guy-Fleury Ntwari, Eng. Alem Gebreamlak Kidane, Ms Lesedi Rantao, Mr. David Luke, Mr. Inye Briggs, and Mr. Michel Jeremias Freire Cabral.
African leaders from 44 African nations gathered at the African Union Summit from March 17th to 21st 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, and signed the Continental Free Trade Area treaty to create the world’s largest single market.
As of April 2019, 22 countries, including Ghana, had ratified the agreement after The Gambia became the 22nd country.
The agreement will be the largest trade agreement in history since the creation of the World Trade Organisation.