Ghana and Senegal have applied separately to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in their national capitals to give legitimacy to the framework agreement of integrating trade in Africa.
Mr Peter Joy Sewornoo, Programme Officer, Trade Policy Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission, said this to Network of Economic Journalists for West Africa adding that the AfCFTA Secretariat is temporarily being housed at the African Union Commission (AUC) Department of Trade and Industry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the authority of the Heads of State of Africa are billed to take final decision on the host secretariat matter in due course.
Ghana and Senegal including some other six member countries have ratified the AfCFTA agreement with Ghana leading the pact of countries that have deposited the framework with the AUC.
A total of 49 countries out of 55 countries have signed the AfCFTA agreement but needed 22-member states to sign and ratify the agreement to make it operational.
The AfCFTA is an ambitious endeavour, spanning a diverse range of countries seeking to provide a comprehensive platform for integration that would help boost intra-African trade, investment and industrialization.
Mr Sewornoo said that attainment of the objectives of the AfCFTA implies the need to quicken the ratification of the single-air transport market, and the protocol on the movement of persons and the African passport as part of the integration process.
He said state parties are to eliminate tariffs, liberalise trade in service, cooperate on investment as well as intellectual property rights.
AfCFTA, when fully operationalised would boost trade, uplift welfare, foster a vibrant and resilient African economic space, promote diversification, structurally transform all sectors, bring technology development to the enhancement of human capital, foster peace and security.