The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, has said the African Continental Free Trade Area, AFCFTA, will propel Africa into self-reliance.
She said this while assuring the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, that government is solidly behind him following the commissioning of the Secretariat today.
“From the very onset of the OAU to the AU, one of the key things on the agenda, has been the trade, economic integration and intra African trade…We all agree that this will propel us into the self-reliant, developed Africa that we all want. We have the opportunity to make history. Making history is making sure that it works and you are in a special position to make it work. Especially in this whole COVID-19 era.”
He added, “Secretary-General, all I can assure you is that this is a huge task but you have our support 110%. We want to make sure that it works. Call us morning, noon, and night. We will ensure that your mandate is protected and that you succeed [and] government will go over and above to do what we are supposed to do to ensure that you succeed.”
South African, Wamkele Mene, was voted as the first Secretary-General of AfCFTA at the 33rd ordinary session of the heads of state and government of the African Union.
The 40-year-old was South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations.
He will be heading the AfCFTA Secretariat to be located in Accra, Ghana, when the AfCFTA kicks off in January 2021.
While presenting some credential documents to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Mene said he was honoured to occupy the position noting Ghana’s reputation in promoting Pan-Africanism.
“The fact that Ghana has been awarded by the assembly of heads of states the right to host one of the known flagship projects of the African Union, which is the AfCFTA Secretariat, speaks volumes about this country. The history of Pan Africanism that would be incomplete without Ghana in the vanguard and so it is an absolute honour for me to be the first Secretary-General in Accra, Ghana.” He noted during a brief meeting with the Minister.