President Akufo-Addo, has paid glowing tribute to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, who first moved the motion for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area in 2011.
Addressing the Ghanaian Comunity in Paris, France, Monday July 8, Nana Akufo-Addo commended the vision of late Mills, for Africa to have a common market place.
“Every country should have its goals and policies that it follows successfully, leader after leader. When the national goals are set, all of us who come to occupy the seat of office should then be obliged to follow it,” Nana Akufo-Addo stated.
The free trade area centres on building Africa’s biggest free-trade bloc, merging the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Forty-four Heads of State and governments of the African Union (AU), including Ghana, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, signed an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Additionally, 45 members signed the Protocol Establishing the African Economic Community―Free Movement of Persons and Right of Residence―while 43 member states signed the Kigali Declaration.
Experts say the signing and implementation of the treaty on the AfCFTA will result in an increase in intra-African trade by 52 percent by the year 2022, culminating in substantial improvement in the lives of African people. Ghana’s President, Akufo-Addo, was in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign for his country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo described the AfCFTA as “one of the most important things that the AU has done,” explaining, Ghanaians who have been resident in France for some time can appreciate the significance of what was achieved at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit, held in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on Sunday, July 7, 2019.
“Maybe some of the grey beards can remember 30 years ago, at the beginning of the common market, what France was like, and what it is like today… there is no doubt about the massive impact that the European Union has had on the lives of European people, in terms of increasing their economic circumstances, and we believe that the African Continental Free Trade Area is going to do the same for us,” he explained.
President Akufo-Addo was confident that the AfCFTA will “give us the opportunity to bring the 1.2 billion people on our continent into active play in developing our continent. We have to find a way of developing our continent ourselves. We can’t continue to depend on foreigners to develop our continent for us.”
The AfCFTA, the President noted, will increase considerably intra-African trade, create millions of jobs for African youths, and help the continent develop its enterprises.
The siting of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana, according to President Akufo-Addo, is a great opportunity for the country, especially as Ghana has been at the centre of pan-African matters.