WCO Congratulates the African Union and the Government of Ghana for the Official Commissioning and Handover of the AfCFTA Secretariat

18 August 2020

On 17 August 2020, at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Ghana, WCO Secretary General Dr Kunio Mikuriya virtually joined, alongside several African dignitaries, the official commissioning and handing over of the office premises for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by the Government of Ghana to the African Union Commission (AUC) in Accra, Ghana.

The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Akuffo-Addo, commissioned and handed over the fully furnished AfCFTA Secretariat building and the official residence for the Secretary General of the AfCFTA to the Chairperson of the AUC, H.E. Moussa Faki, during a ceremony that affirmed Ghana’s commitment to host the permanent Secretariat of the AfCFTA in Accra. President Akuffo-Addo stressed the importance of an effective implementation of the AfCFTA in boosting trade amongst African countries and contributing to the desired growth and prosperity on the African continent. The President welcomed the new Secretary General, H.E. Wamkele Mene, to Ghana and urged him to work towards building a strong, efficient, and effective Secretariat, with the capacity to implement the various trade rules in line with the AfCFTA Agreement.

In his speech, H.E. Wamkele Mene noted that the AfCFTA sends a strong signal that Africa is open for business and investments that are mutually beneficial to create decent jobs and improve the livelihoods of African citizens. He acknowledged the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains and its effects on the economic progress on the continent but urged Africa to see opportunities from the AfCFTA to reconfigure Africa’s supply chains and expedite the creation of regional value chains that will boost intra African trade and secure productive capacities.  He also underlined the importance of Customs in implementing the AfCFTA.

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya used the opportunity to congratulate the African Union (AU) and the Government of the Republic of Ghana for achieving this milestone and in a written message to all participants he underscored that “the WCO looks forward to working with the AfCFTA Secretariat together with all Customs administrations of the world including those in Africa towards creating the market of the future and connecting Africa to the global trading and Customs system.”

The ceremony was also marked by speeches from Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Minister for Trade and Industry, and the Chairperson of the AUC. Supporting messages were also received from the President of the Republic of Niger and AU Champion for AfCFTA, H.E Mahamadou Issoufou, as well as the President of the Republic of South Africa, and Chair of the AU, H. E. Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Secretariat of the AfCFTA will commence full operations of the AfCFTA as from 1 January 2021.