Ghana selected to host AfCFTA secretariat

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General view of conference room of the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of the Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, on July 5, 2019. - The launch of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be the focus of the two-day summit in the capital Niamey. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
General view of conference room of the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of the Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, on July 5, 2019. – The launch of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be the focus of the two-day summit in the capital Niamey. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Ghana was on Saturday selected as the country to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

A review committee said the West African nation was awarded the right based on regional balance formula.

Ghana beat six other countries which had submitted their bids to host the secretariat. They were: Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal.

The secretariat’s primary mandate will be the implementation the agreement, which has been ratified by 25 countries, according to the African Union.

The announcement came as the African Union launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA at an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger.

Meanwhile, the AU Commission’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry Ambassador Albert Muchanga announced that Benin had agreed to sign the AfCFTA agreement during the Extraordinary Summit thereby becoming the 54th signatory state.

This comes three days after the Nigerian presidency announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the agreement.

A statement by the presidency said that Nigeria will be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.

Eritrea is the only African Union member state not to have signed the agreement.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA is, by the number of participating countries, the largest trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

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