The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, has assured the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, of the full support of the government of Ghana to ensure that it succeeds in its mandate.
The minister was speaking at a ceremony where the Secretary General of AfCFTA presented his credentials in Accra on Monday, 17 August 2020.
Ms Botchway noted that: “I believe this is probably the most important AU institution because from the very outset of the OAU to the AU, one of the key things on the agenda has been the trade economic integration and intra-Africa trade because we all agree that this is what will propel us into the self-reliant developed Africa that we want.”
She assured the Secretary-General of the government of Ghana’s interest in ensuring the effectiveness of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
“This is a huge task; you have our support 110 per cent. We want to make sure that it works. Call us morning, noon and night. We’ll ensure that your mandate is protected and that you succeed. We’ll go over and above what we’re even supposed to do to ensure that you succeed”, she promised.
“Our ministry, the Ministry of Trade and any ministries that would be able to help you succeed, we’re all there, government is behind you 100 per cent.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister further expressed hope that intra-Africa trade will start by early next year to ensure an Africa beyond aid.
“On first of January, COVID or no COVID, Africa will start the journey toward trade, intra-Africa trade; we need to industrialise and we need to get to the point that we can say that we’re an Africa that has gone beyond aid and beyond aid means that we must trade among ourselves. Yes, we will continue to trade with those from outside but I believe there’s so much we can do from within and that is what we need to start to do.”
The Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, for his part, indicated that Ghana, being awarded the right to host the Secretariat, speaks volume about her.
“Due to the circumstances that we all know [COVID-19], we were not able to come earlier but rest assured that our hearts and minds were in Accra even though we were in Addis Ababa. So, it’s a pleasure to finally be able to be here”.
He added: “I think that the fact that Ghana has been awarded by the Assembly of Heads of States, the right to host the one of the main flagship projects of the African Union, which is the CFT Secretariat, speaks volumes”, noting that the history of a Pan-Africanism would be incomplete without the mentioning of Ghana as the vanguard in achieving this feat.