President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday signaled Ghana’s readiness to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He was of the opinion that Ghana, strategically placed, and with its sacrificial role in the Pan-African movement, was a suitable place to situate the facility.
“We thought that it will be meaningful, also because we have the facilities that we should offer our capital as the site of the Secretariat of the Trade Area now that it is legally a reality; we believe we have the facilities here to be able to provide an efficient centre for the work of this Secretariat,” he said.
The President made this known when an evaluation team from the African Union (AU), led by Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
“I think it’s time that the AU also do something to recognize Ghana’s sacrifices, the role…the moves that have been made to bringing all of us together; the establishment of the OAU, the AU,” he told the team.
The President called to mind the period of the formation of the OAU, when Accra was regarded as the natural place to site the Secretariat of the organization.
That decision however had to be shelved when Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who was instrumental in the OAU’s evolution, found it expedient in the interest of the country to agree with Emperor Haille Selassie of Ethiopia to instead have it cited in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“That has been our attitude towards the Pan African project; today, we believe that apart from having the facilities…I think that there is a history…that the AU Commission and the others should try to satisfy,” he noted.
Thus, “we are very keen on the idea; a team is going all over the continent lobbying for the opportunity and I think we have an excellent case and I’m hoping that by the time you leave here, that will be your view as well,” President Akufo-Addo told the team.
The AfCFTA is a planned free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 49 of the 55 African Union nations.
If the agreement is ratified, the free-trade area would be the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018, which initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.
Fifty-two out of the 55 African nations have ratified the proposal and thus set to come into force hence the need for the setting up of a Secretariat for it activities and operations.
So far six countries including Ghana, have submitted their bids to host the Secretariat.
Ambassador Katungye commended Ghana for being the first nation to offer to host the AfCFTA Secretariat.
She was of the firm belief that when established, the Secretariat would be the gateway to fulfil the aspirations of making Africa a continental free trade area.
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Go for Ghana Card – Volta NDC to supporters
Mr James Gunu, the Volta Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has urged Ghanaians, especially supporters of the Party to fully participate in the Ghana Card registration exercise, which commenced in the region on Monday, July 22.
He said, “the Volta Region NDC wishes to encourage all and sundry, including party faithfuls, to participate in the ongoing Ghana card registration exercise. Ghana card is not for any political party, it is for all of us, so everyone must take part, even though the exercise was not given enough days”.
Mr. Gunu was addressing supporters of the party at a “revival rally” on the theme, “mobilizing all available resources for victory 2020”, on Sunday at Agbozume, in the Ketu South constituency of the Volta Region.
He asked followers of the NDC to encourage their households to register and ignore any acts of “intimidation” from opposition parties.
Mr Gunu called for unity in the Party ahead of the Parliamentary Primaries and urged members to accept outcomes of vetting of aspirants and elections of parliamentary candidates.
Mr. Bright Kumordzi, Ketu South Constituency Chairman of the NDC, appealed to all delegates to choose the best candidate for the parliamentary seat and commended aspirants in the Constituency for working together in peace.
The fund raising rally brought together some branch executives, former and present constituency executives as well as all the parliamentary aspirants in the constituency, to at mobilize resources towards attaining the 2020 agenda of the party.
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Government says GH¢3b road projects to start nationwide
Government has announced plans to start road infrastructural development in the second half of the year, amounting to GH¢3 billion.
Road projects are expected to see a major boost nationwide upon the resumption of the cocoa roads projects.
It will be recalled that cocoa road projects were discontinued for audit and re-scoping and proper alignment of funds to execute them.
Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister, announced this at a media briefing in Accra.
He said upon completion of the audit exercise, some road projects have been terminated and others re-scoped, while others have been handed over to the proper agencies such as Highways and Urban Roads to execute.
He said funding is being made available for the commencement of those projects, with the assurance that contractors would be paid for work done.
He said more than three billion Ghana cedis of cocoa roads are set to commence under the new programme in cocoa growing areas across the country.
Other road projects funded through the Central Government budget and road fund are expected to pick up during the year, he added.
He said the LEKMA roads and others have already been given out on contract and contractors are already mobilising to site.
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Group to check misuse of drugs in Sabon Zongo formed
Zongo Against Drug (ZAD), a civic pressure group, has been formed at Sabon Zongo in the Ablekuma Central Municipality, to check misuse of drugs by the youth in the area.
It also aims at championing the cause of sensitising the youth about the dangers of drugs, its consequences and help them to abstain from it.
Mr. Abdul Rahim Salifu Ango, Chairman of the group and a Clinical Psychologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, told the Ghana News Agency that, the group would create awareness among the muslim youth in Accra, on avoiding negative practices in society and to uphold high moral principles.
ZAD, he said, is a non-partisan group, whose membership cuts across the political divide, adding that, it comprises opinion leaders of the community and some chiefs too.
He said it seeks to stimulate action among policy makers and the public to recognise and take pragmatic measures to discourage the youth on deviant and immoral acts.
Mr. Salifu Ango said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools presented more opportunities for the muslim youth and there is the need to prepare themselves to play meaningful roles in the country.
He said ZAD intends to work in partnership with private and public sector institutions as well as international Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs) committed to the same goals.
He expressed the hope that the media would continue to play its critical role of informing and educating the public about the concerns of ZAD.
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