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Ghana’s bid to host African trade secretariat... AU team assesses Ghana’s facilities

BY: Juliet Akyaa Safo

A 10-member delegation from the African Union (AU) has arrived in the country to ascertain Ghana’s preparedness to host the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) secretariat.

Ghana is among six countries bidding to host the secretariat.

The other countries are Senegal, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Ethiopia and eSwatini.

CFTA

The CFTA is a planned free trade area outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among the 49 AU nations to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

The 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012, adopted the decision to establish the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2017.

The secretariat is intended to be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement, and to be an autonomous body within the AU system and the Council of Ministers responsible for trade.

Arrival

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who met the delegation at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra yesterday, told journalists that the secretariat would provide about a hundred job opportunities locally, if established in Ghana.

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He said it would also afford the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of the CFTA agenda.

“Ghana has for decades been at the forefront of making this argument for a free trade area, and so if a secretariat is to be set up, we think it is important that Ghana hosts the secretariat so that we can continue to be at the forefront of championing this agenda,” he said.

He said the delegation would spend about a week in the country where they would be taken to offices, residential accommodations and facilities that were required to host the headquarters.

Delegation

The head of the delegation, Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, who is the AU Advisor on Regional Integration/Bureau of Chairperson, expressed the hope that Ghana would contribute in actualising the objective and aspiration of the African continent.