The Continental Free Trade Area, which will be the largest trading block in the world with a GDP at about $3trillion and a population of 1.3 billion, according to the minister will begin the economic emancipation of the continent’s people.

He made the revelation while contributing to a statement the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen made on the Floor of Parliament in Accra, on the AfCFTA and Ghana’s selection to host the Secretariat.

The creation of a single continental market for Africa had long been the dream of the founding fathers of most of the major countries on the continent.

The Abuja Declaration of 1991 by the Authority of Heads of States of the Organisation of African Unity envisioned the establishment of an African Economic Community. One of the building blocks for the establishment of this community was the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area for Africa.

The realisation of that vision of a single market did not materialise until the AU Summit of Heads of States and Government in January 2012, which formally endorsed the decision to establish an African Continental Free Trade Area. 

Since that decision was adopted, extensive preparations and negotiations have been carried out by member-states – finally culminating in the historic AU Summit decision in Kigali on March 21st, 2018, to formally conclude the first phase of negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Agreement.

With this, the finance minister noted that since the days of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the work he did for the OAU, now African Union (AU), the AfCFTA is the first AU organ of importance that is coming to be hosted by Ghana.

He commended the purposefulness and unity in the approach to this by former Presidents of Ghana to make it happen, with a thumbs-up for President Nana Akufo-Addo for working hard to convince his colleague Heads of State to support Ghana’s bid.