Ghana beats six African countries to host the Secretariat for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area

Ghana has beaten six countries in Africa to host the Secretariat for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), the world's largest trade pact by membership.

Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The six contenders were e-Swatini, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Madagascar.

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia made this revelation at a Presidential Gala for the official closing ceremony of a four-day Ghana Diaspora celebration and Homecoming Summit on Saturday, July 6, 2019.

The official announcement of Ghana’s selection is expected to be made at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger.

The summit will launch the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area after achieving maturity on May 30, 2019, when the 22-Member State deposited its instrument of ratification at the Africa Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The summit formed part of the Ghanaian government’s strategy to harness the expertise of human and financial resources of Ghanaians living in the Diaspora towards investments and accelerate national development.

A 10-member delegation from the Africa Union (AU), led by Ambassador Rosette Katungye, AU Advisor on Regional Integration, arrived in Accra on May 13, 2019, and spent seven days to assess Ghana’s preparedness and facilities towards hosting the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Dr Bawumia gave the assurance that government would continue to engage with Diasporans, draw synergies and tap into their wealth of knowledge and expertise.

He said 60 of President Akufo-Addo’s appointees were Ghanaian Diasporans because he believed in their competences and hard work, noting that the commercial discovery of crude oil in Ghana was made possible through Dr Kwame Bawia Adusei and George Yaw Owusu, who were all Ghanaians based in the United States.

The establishment of the Diaspora Office at the Presidency according to Dr Bawumia was intended to ensure effective collaboration between government and the Diasporan Community.

This, he said, would facilitate understanding of government policies and programmes and create a feedback loop that would enable Ghanaians abroad, to bring their expertise on-board to help build a better economy.

About the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA)

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is to create 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.

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 an ACFTA by a tentative date of 2017.

The ACFTA will bring together 54 African nations with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than $3.4 trillion.

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