Africa’s strive towards continental integration and free trade has received another major boost. Fourty four African countries signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018. What was outstanding was that parliaments of those countries were expected to ratify the agreement and the AfCfTA will come into force when at least 22 out of the 54 African countries parliaments ratify the agreement.
Rwanda, has made history! Being the host of the AfCFTA signing, it is also the first country to have its Parliament ratify the agreement. Member of Rwanda’s Lower House on Tuesday 24th April 2018 ratified the AfCFTA which is expected to be one of the largest free trade areas in the world unlocking the continent’s combined GDP is $2.5 billion.
Ghana may be the second African country to ratify the AfCFTA. Though Parliament is on recess, Its Parliament has been recalled for urgent business. The recall for Parliament reads “In exercise of the Power conferred on the Speaker by Order 42 (3) of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, the Right Honourable Speaker has directed that Parliament be recalled from recess to sit from Thursday, the 26th Day of April to Friday, the 27th day of April 2018, at ten O’clock in the forenoon each day at Parliament House in Accra.”
Though details of the business of Parliament’s recall was not provided, information gathered from Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry indicates that ratification of the AfCFTA will be one of the major business of the sitting on Thursday and Friday. If Ghana ratifies the agreement, it may be the second African country after Rwanda, further entrenching Ghana’s pan-African position.
By Dode Seidu