Ghana Parliament ratifies African Continental Free Trade Agreement
The Parliament of Ghana has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, seeking to boost intra-Africa trade through the creation of a single market for goods and services. This makes Ghana the second country after Rwanda to ratify the agreement.
It also aims at facilitating free movement of persons and capital to promote economic integration.
This was a major highpoint of the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012.
The ratification of the agreement came after the Trade and Industries Minister, Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, had appeared on the floor of the House.
He announced to the House a formal offer to the AU by Ghana to host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
Processes leading to the final selection of the country to host the Secretariat had already began and a decision would be taken at the next summit of the Heads of State and Government in the coming July.
A pre-condition for selection is that the member state should have ratified the trade agreement.
Mr. Kyeremanten expressed optimism that the early ratification of the agreement was going to strengthen Ghana’s chances and said, the trade agreement was good for the nation and Africa.
Mr. Fifii Kwetey, Ranking Member on Trade and Industry, shared the assertion by the Minister that the agreement was in the national interest.
He asked that the government should go beyond the endorsement, to take full advantage of it.
Mr. Ben Abdallah Banda, Chairman of Parliament’s legal and Constitutional Committee, in his contribution, said the benefits could be enormous.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Ranking Member on legal and Constitutional Committee, on his part, said it should send powerful signal to the Europeans and the others that Africans were determined to trade among themselves to lift their people out of poverty.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, appealed to Nigeria and South Africa, the two economic giants, who opted out of the treaty, to reconsider their stand and join.