The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has become the first organ of the African Union Commission to recognize and commit to fly the sixth region of Africa which known as the African Diaspora Community at a colourful to hand over the flag to be hoisted at the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra.
For nearly two decades, the AU has recognised the Diaspora community as the sixth region of the continent.
“We are the very first organ to have the honour to say we are truly recognizing the diaspora. Thank you very much. It is significant that this is happening at the AfCFTA Secretariat because we have a historic mission to dismantle the colonialist trade patterns that we inherited, the export of primary commodities to other parts of the world and to make our markets competitive both regionally and globally ,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the secretariat.
He added: “As Africans, we will not be able to achieve this without the collaboration and support of the diaspora.”
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapah, urged the diaspora community to see Ghana as their home and advised them to take advantage of the enabling environment to invest in the country.
“The diaspora form a very integral constituent of the work that we are doing together on the continent and the recognition, both in law and practically, to collaborate with you in the ways of investments and capital mobilization as well as the transfer of expertise and know-how is very welcomed.
Ghana has been a longstanding harbinger of the integration process in Africa politically and economically and we will continue to lend our support to the new region for the benefits of our people,” he noted.
On July 9, 2002, at the historic summit of the then Organisation for African Unity, former Ghana president John Agyekum Kuffuor responded to a call by Dr. Erieka Bennett, now ambassador and founder of the Diaspora Africa Forum (DAF) that the diaspora should be considered as a constituent in the progress of Africa and that request was officially granted.
At the flag handing over ceremony, Ambassador Dr. Bennet acknowledged the role of the continent’s leadership for recognizing the diaspora community.
She further read a letter from former president J.A Kuffuor endorsing and congratulating the diaspora on their historic achievement.
The AU has made landmark decisions on the diaspora including the development of Diaspora Initiative adopted in Maputo, Mozambique in July 2003; the definition of African Diaspora in 2005; African Diaspora Processes adopted in January 2006; Diaspora participation in the organs of the AU in January in 2008 and the declaration of the periods between 2021 and 2031 as the decade of African roots and diasporas.