AU, AfDB sign $4.8m grant for continental free trade Secretariat

The African Development Bank Group says it has signed a $4.8 million grant to the African Union (AU), for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, a press release copied to says. The Board of the Bank approved the grant on April 1, 2019, the release added.

While Ghana is set to host the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, the AU, according to the release, has an interim secretariat, tasked to provide the organizational structure for the permanent administrative body, its work programme and related issues including its budget.

It added that, Albert Muchanga, representing the AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, signed for the AU, while Obed Andoh Mensah, Director of the Industrial and Trade Development Department (PITD) of the Bank, signed on its behalf.

“The AfCFTA is going to work and we are confident that by the July 1 next year, all the 55 countries would have been state parties – meaning, they would have signed and ratified the agreement and intra-African trade will start,” Muchanga was quoted as saying in the release.

The AfCFTA, is said to create a single continental market for goods and services, which eventually allows free movement of business persons and investments across the continent, with a $2.5 trillion in GDP.

“If the AfCFTA is complemented by trade facilitation reforms, reduction in non-tariff barriers, improved infrastructure and policy measures to encourage employment and private sector investments, it will stimulate poverty reduction and socio-economic development across Africa,” Obed Andoh Mensah was also quoted as saying.

By Gifty Danso

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