President briefs AU Summit on Ghana’s preparation towards establishment of AfCFTA secretariat in Accra

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the ongoing 33rd African Union (AU) Summit, briefed the union of Ghana’s preparations towards the establishment of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and gave the assurance that the secretariat will become operational by March 31. 

The President, who was making an intervention at the closed session of the event here in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia yesterday, said the reconfiguration of the office premises based on the specific requirements agreed with the AU Commission, including the installation of critical data and IT Infrastructure facilities, security systems, office furnishing, and corporate branding of the AfCFTA Office Complex, has been done.

“The acquisition and furnishing of the residence of the Secretary General of AfCFTA, based on the requirements agreed with the AU Commission has been completed, with the initiation of negotiations with real estate companies for residential accommodation for other AfCFTA staff,” he said.

In addition to the finalisation of arrangements of health and educational facilities for AfCFTA management and staff, the President stated that a dedicated booth at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra to facilitate entry and exit requirements of AfCFTA officials, as well as representatives of Member States, who would be conducting official business with the AfCFTA Secretariat, had been secured.

“The Government of Ghana sponsored six different meetings of the AfCFTA in December 2019, in Accra. Thus far, a total amount of US$3 million has been advanced by the Government of Ghana for the establishment and operationalisation of the AfCFTA Secretariat,” he said.

The President reiterated Ghana’s commitment to meet the March 31 deadline of the Secretariat, “which will be of world class quality, and to help ensure that, by July 1, 2020, as mandated by the Assembly, the AfCFTA takes off without a hitch”.

Earlier, President Akufo-Addo held a meeting of Member States of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and told the Heads of State and representatives of the 27 Member States to commit themselves to the work of COMSATS to reposition the commission to support the collective drive for development, leveraging science, technology and innovation.

“In the 25 years of its existence, COMSATS has played a lead role in cultivating an enhanced culture of scientific and technological co-operation amongst its members, through capacity building, education and research and development.”

“The pivotal role science and technology play in development is well acknowledged. Together with innovation, they have become the new currency for development”. 

“Science and technology hold the key to finding sustainable economic, social and environmental solutions to the many problems that confront us. And these problems are shared – from Algeria to Zimbabwe, and from Benin to Tanzania, we face common problems,” he said.  

He was confident that COMSATS was well situated to help foster greater partnerships to advance science and technology for the development of Africa.

FROM YAW KYEI, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

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