President Akufo-Addo has assured the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union that the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area will be operational by 31st March, 2020.
Making an intervention on 9th February 2020, during the closed session of the 33rd AU Summit, currently ongoing in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana, after being selected as host country for the Secretariat, was “directed to work with the AU Commission to ensure an expeditious and efficient process of establishing a permanent Secretariat for the AfCFTA in Accra by 31st March, 2020”.
Outlining the activities that being undertaken by Ghana, to this end, the President indicated that the reconfiguration of the Office Premises based on the specific requirements agreed with the AU Commission, including the installation of critical Data and IT Infrastructure facilities, Security Systems, Office Furnishing, and Corporate branding of the AfCFTA Office Complex, has been done.
Secondly, he told the Assembly that “the acquisition and furnishing of the residence of the Secretary General of AfCFTA, based on the requirements agreed with the AU Commission” has been completed, with the “initiation of negotiations with real estate companies for residential accommodation for other AfCFTA staff.”
In addition to the finalization of arrangements of health and educational facilities for AfCFTA management and staff, the President stated that a dedicated booth at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, to facilitate entry and exit requirements of AfCFTA officials, as well as representatives of Member States, who will be conducting official business with the AfCFTA Secretariat, has been secured.
“In addition, the Government of Ghana sponsored six (6) different meetings of the AfCFTA in December 2019, in Accra.
”Thus far, a total amount of US$3 million has been advanced by the Government of Ghana for the establishment and operationalization of the AfCFTA Secretariat,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The President reiterated Ghana’s determination “to establish the Secretariat by the end of March 2020, which will be of world class quality, and to help ensure that, by 1st July, 2020, as mandated by the Assembly, the AfCFTA takes off without a hitch.”