The new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will make its home in Ghana, a decision announced Sunday during an African Union summit in Niger that celebrated the official launch of the free-trade deal.
Actual trading under AfCFTA is expected to begin a year from now and when it does, it will find the AfCFTA Secretariat in the West African nation led by President Nana Akufo Addo.
Akufo Addo accepted the decision during a speech in which he said the AfCFTA headquarters location marks the first opportunity for Ghana to host an important pan-African site.
Ghana edged out Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal to do so, with President Macky Sall of Senegal yielding his own nation’s bid in order to support Ghana’s. Egypt and Ethiopia also showed solidarity with Ghana over the selection.
“We have, today, taken very important steps towards working with a common voice and a common purpose to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our peoples,” Akufo Addo said. “Indeed, the ‘Africa We Want’ is achievable.”
The AfCFTA is now the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization, the Ghanaian presidency said. It will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across the fifty-four (54) Member States of the African Union that have signed the Agreement.
Image: Nana Akufo Addo