President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the African Union Chairperson, has assured African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretary-General, Mr Wamkele Mene, of his unwavering support for the Secretary-General in the execution of his responsibilities to promote the successful implementation of the AfCFTA as entrusted by AU Member States.
President Ramaphosa provided this assurance this week on the occasion of the commissioning and handover ceremony of the AfCFTA Secretariat building in Accra, Ghana, to the African Union Commission.
Ghana was selected to host the AfCFTA Secretariat by AU Member States on the occasion of the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, Niger in July 2019.
In this regard, President Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the AU and the continent, expressed profound gratitude to the government and people of Ghana for generously offering the building and residences which house the AfCFTA.
“This day is indeed a milestone and a strong affirmation of the vision of an integrated Africa, which was envisioned by the founding fathers of the OAU, including Kwame Nkrumah, 57 years ago. It is a fitting tribute that the AfCFTA Headquarters are being housed in Ghana,” said President Ramaphosa.
President Ramaphosa has also assured the Secretary General of the AU’s commitment to the successful implementation of the AfCFTA, as a practical contribution to economic development of Africa and welcomed progress achieved thus far in the implementation of the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit.
President Ramaphosa also acknowledged the challenges that exist in the negotiations, in particular around the issue of the Rules of Origin and Trade Offers, as well as trade in services.
“We are confident that, through your leadership and the determination of the AU Member States, all bracketed issues should be resolved,” said President Ramaphosa.
Mr Mene is the first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, elected in February 2020 with a mandate to administer the free trade agreement creating a single market for AU Member States with a combined population of over 1 billion and a total GDP of about US $2.5 trillion.
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