Saturday, June 25, 2022

Ghana, AU sign AfCFTA Host Country Agreement

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The African Union and the Government of Ghana on Monday signed the Host Country Agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA) that provides the legal framework for the establishment of the Secretariat in Ghana.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey signed on behalf of the AU and Ghana respectively on the sidelines of the 33rd Ordinary Summit of the African Union in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.

Considering that the Republic of Ghana is ready to host the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, the agreement seeks to grant it, and its officials, the privileges and immunities necessary for the execution of its mandate.

The Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, was adopted by the Assembly of Head of States and Governments of the African Union at its 10th Extraordinary Session on 21st March, 2018, which establishes the African Continental Free Trade Area and its Secretariat.

Ghana was selected as the country to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), making it responsible for the overseeing the implementation of the agreement. The country has committed to donate $10 million for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat.

In an interview after the signing of the Host Agreement, Ghana’s Foreign Minister said the AU selection panel had settled on three persons for the position of Secretary General of AfCFTA who are drawn from DR Congo, South Africa and Nigeria.

The Foreign Minister said the selection of the Secretary General of AfCFTA as a convention of the AU, would have been by consensus but it would be done by voting by the Assembly of Head of States and Governments at the 33rd Ordinary Summit of the African Union in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.

Mrs Botchwey said the operational phase of the AfCFTA Secretariat will officially begin in March this year, and commence trading on the 1st July 2019.

She said the agreement, also sets out the legal framework establishing of the AfCTRA Secretariat in Ghana, adding that “these are steps taken to ensure that the Secretariat start work by March, 2020”.

The operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 at the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit, with a transition period up to 1 July 2020 when trading will begin under the deal.

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey was accompanied by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and officials of the Ghanaian Foreign Ministry.

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