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The Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday 17 July 2020 officially commissioned and handed over the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to the African Union in the Ghanaian capital Accra. The handing over of these premises is an important milestone in the implementation of the agreement establishing the free trade area. In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, the President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou attended the ceremony and welcomed this "new step" in the process of implementing the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA.

By handing over the keys of the office, Ghana, as host of the ZLECAF Secretariat, has fully honoured its agreed obligations and commitments towards the AU Commission. “Today, we have handed over a fully furnished and befitting office, in a secure and easily accessible location in the Accra shopping centre, to host the ZLECAF Permanent Secretariat,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.

The first AfCFTA Secretary-General, South African-born Wamkele Keabetswe Mene, was elected in February 2020. President Nana Akufo-Addo also handed over a befitting and furnished official residence for the AfCFTA Secretary General, thus translating into action the will of the Ghanaian people to remain one of the torchbearers of African integration.

As a reminder, the AfCFTA was officially launched at 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union held in Niamey, Niger, on 7 July 2019

It was also decided that Accra, capital of Ghana, and homeland of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, one of the founding fathers of the African Union, will host the AfCFTA Secretariat Headquarters. AfCFTA will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world with a population of 1.2 billion.

The free trade area will ease, inter alia, the movement of capital and natural persons and facilitate investments, promote and achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, strengthen the competitiveness of the economies of African countries and promote industrial development through the diversification and development of regional value chains, the development of agriculture and food security.

(Source: English translation of an excerpt from Synthèse Agence Ecofin (Site Internet) 18 Août 2020)