Ghana hands over AfCFTA HQ to AU; commercial deal to start in 2021
August 24, 2020: The government of Ghana has officially commissioned and handed over the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to the African Union in Accra.
The ceremony was attended by Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo, African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat and AfCFTA secretary-general Wamkele Mene.
In July 2019, Ghana was selected ahead of six other countries as the country to host the AfCFTA secretariat based on regional balance formula. Currently, 54 states have signed on to AfCFTA, out of which 28 have ratified.
The first commercial deal under the AfCFTA is expected to take place on January 1, 2021 as outstanding discussions will take place online. Disruptions arising from the pandemic forced a delay of the implementation of the agreement initially set for the beginning of July.
The AU maintains that the AfCFTA will offer Africa an opportunity to reconfigure its supply chains, reduce reliance on others and speed up the establishment of regional value chains which will boost intra-Africa trade.
AfCFTA, the world’s largest free trade area, has the potential to transform the continent with its potential market of 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of around $3 trillion across the 54-member states of the AU.
The African Development Bank Group provided a $5 million institutional support grant to the AU towards the establishment of the AfCFTA secretariat which is located in an ultra-modern office complex in the central business district of the Ghanaian capital.