Agenda 2063 of AU: Dr Nkrumah Smiles In His Grave ─ Alan Cash
Alan Kojo Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry has indicated that the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement is arguably the most significant decision ever to be made by the African Union and was accordingly designated as the flagship project of Agenda 2063 of the African Union, agreeing with the Minority Leader of the House, Haruna Iddrisu that the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would be smiling in his grave upon the coming into effect of the Free Trade Area.
He revealed that the Free Trade Area will constitute the single largest trading block in the whole world, considering the number of countries participating in the Trading Block.
He also indicated that Ghana has played, and will continue to play leading role in the negotiations of the Agreement for the Continental Free Trade Area, and that by so doing, Ghana is reinforcing its commitment to the integration agenda of the African continent.
He added that the implementation of the Agreement would significantly expand opportunities for exports, value added exports by Ghanaian manufacturers and business executives and will as such enhance Ghana’s export revenue earnings.
He further revealed that Ghana has made a formal offer to host the secretariat of the Continental Africa Free Trade Area, expressed the wish that, before the end of screening and selection of the host country, Ghana would have had the opportunity of ratifying the agreement.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has estimated the agreement’s implementation could increase intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022, compared with trade levels in 2010.
African heads of government agreed to establish a continental free trade area in 2012 and started negotiations in 2015
The agreement is set to be signed by all 55 member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion.
The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.
The agreement will also liberalise services and aims to tackle so-called “non-tariff barriers” which hamper trade between African countries, such as long delays at the border.
Eventually, free movement of people and even a single currency could become part of the free trade area.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey