African Union Day: Ghana urges acceleration of AfCFTA implementation


By Iddi Yire 

Accra, May 25, GNA – Ghana has reiterated the need to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to speed up the continent’s socioeconomic development. 

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, during the 60th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), said accelerating the AfCFTA was crucial for several reasons. 

Significant amongst them was the potential to stimulate economic growth and development across Africa, by removing barriers to trade, such as tariffs, quotas and dumping, she said. 

“These would culminate in increased trade within Africa through the creation of larger single markets, boosting economies of scale, and attracting direct foreign investment.”  

Madam Botchwey made the appeal in a speech read on her behalf by her deputy, Mr Thomas Mbomba, at a flagraising ceremony at the Forecourt of the State House in Accra. 

That formed part of activities to mark the 60th Anniversary of the AU Day, on the theme: “The Accelerated Implementation of the AfCFTA”. 

The event was to recognise the vision and milestone achieved towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. 

Madam Botchwey said the ceremony was primarily in remembrance of the founding members of the AU, whose dream was to strive for a united Africa while eschewing any form of (neo)colonialism.  

“Today, we are beneficiaries of the sacrifices that our independence fighters made to ensure the total liberation of the continent, and we should not take that for granted, as a people,” she said. 

“The reason we need to continue to keep burning the flames of emancipation set alight by our forebears.” 

Touching on the theme, Madam Botchwey said AfCFTA had the potential to transform the economic landscape of Africa and strengthen its position in the global market.  

“To this end, it is imperative that we expedite action on the implementation of the various arrangements and protocols to ensure citizens of Africa, individuals and groups, benefit fully.”  

AfCFTA was the largest free trade area in the world by the number of participating countries, a reason for all Africans to commit to the promotion of intra-African trade and economic integration, she said.  

Madam Imane Ouaadil, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Ghana and Dean of the African Group, paid tribute to President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who formed along a small group of African visionary leaders including Morocco’s Mohammed V, the Casablanca Group in 1963, a first step towards the establishment of the OAU now the AU. 

“Ghana is, indeed, a privileged spot from where we can hail Africa’s resilience and Africa’s tenacity,” she said. 

Mr Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat, said the Free Trade Area would boost intra-Africa trade, reignite industrialisation, and pave the way for the meaningful integration of Africa into global value chains and the world economy in general. 



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