• Wamkele Mene, a South African diplomat, has been appointed as the first Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFA).
  • Mene has extensive knowledge of trade diplomacy, trade representation, government to government representation, investment, and resolution of investment disputes
  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFA) seeks to cut tariffs within the bloc, boost trade, eliminate border barriers, and create the world's largest free trade area.

Wamkele Mene, a trade law expert and negotiator, has been elected as the first Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFA).

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFA) is presumed to be the world's largest free trade area, by the number of countries once it’s fully in operation, according to the World Economic Forum.

Wamkele Mene
Wamkele Mene

With its secretariat in Accra, Ghana where Wamkele Mene and the AfCFA team will work to ensure all issues and activities of the trade pact are addressed.

Business Insider SSA looks at five things you need to know about the Wamkele Mene:

  • He holds an LL.M in Banking Law and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science; an M.A. in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London; and a B.A. Law from Rhodes University.”
  • He served as South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations.
  • He was also a senior trade law expert and negotiator on behalf of South Africa at the World Trade Organisation.
AU leaders kick off operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area #AfCFTA (Twitter/_AfricanUnion)
AU leaders kick off operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area #AfCFTA (Twitter/_AfricanUnion)
Twitter/African Union
  • In 2010, he was appointed Deputy Ambassador, South African Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He was later named the Chairman, Committee on International Trade in Financial Services at the World Trade Organisation. 
  • Mene has extensive knowledge of trade diplomacy, trade representation, government to government representation, investment, and resolution of investment disputes.

The AfCFTA agreement was adopted and opened for signature on March 21, 2018, in Kigali. The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019. The agreement seeks to cut tariffs within the bloc, boosts trade, eliminate border barriers and create the world's largest free trade area.