The 3rd Meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area Council of Ministers has opened in Accra, Ghana. This meeting is being held following the historic handing over in August 2020 of a befitting premises to house the AFCFTA Secretariat.
The 3rd meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area Council of Ministers was to discuss pertinent issues critical for the start of trading in January 2021, to urge Member States to continue to commit themselves to lay the foundation for a single continental market for Africa.
Speakers at the ceremony called for the implementation of relevant provisions necessary for the operationalization of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, who represented President Akufo-Addo highlighted the importance of ensuring that such provisions are discussed and concluded to enable the smooth take-off of the Secretariat.
“This meeting presents the State parties of the AFCFTA an opportunity to address issues concerning the operationalisation of the customs provisions in the AfCFTA Agreement; the Protocol on Trade in Goods and related annexes on Tariff Reduction Schedules, Rules of Origin, Trade Facilitation, Transit and other matters related to border clearance. Progress on these pertinent matters will be crucial to the start of trading and the creation of the single African market for trade, investment and the socio-economic transformation of the Continent as well as the realization of the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.”
Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, who chaired the ceremony, was convinced that “the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions taken by the African Union”. He was happy to learn that “many of the Member States have submitted or are in a position to submit their Tariff Offers before the start of trading in January 2021”.
Trading among State Parties was scheduled to commence from 1st July 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic trading has been rescheduled to commence from 1st January 2021.
Story filed by Nathaniel Nartey.