AfCFTA is “Weapon” for Africa’s Development- Asantehene

The King of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has marked out the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a “weapon” for Africa’s collective welfare and to stimulate the continent’s collective soci-economic development.

During a working visit to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on April 19, 2024, by the Rwandan High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Rosemary Mbabazi, His Majesty decried the ineffectiveness of inter-African trade as the origin of the continent’s under-development and high dependency on foreign aid.

“I see that if we don’t do that and we are all importing instead of sharing the ideas and trading among ourselves to boost our economies, we will always be dependent on the developed economies which is not healthy for us. We end up going to the IMF to borrow money, although we have abundant resources in Africa that we can use.”

However, with the coming into force of the AfCFTA, he sees a turnabout in the fortunes of Africa.

“The south-south cooperation has still not been effectively done as I wish it could be. Fortunately, we have the African Continental Free Trade Area. That also must be a weapon Africa can use to be able to deliver and build out economies together.”

Additionally, he called for the sharing of expertise and resourcing among African nations.

“When you look at Congo, for instance, they can produce electricity for the whole of Africa. Why are we not able to do that? Why are we not leveraging on the natural resources we have in Africa to inure to our benefit? We have trained engineers and all that, why are we not creating employment for the people and sharing labour like your students are here?

“They are benefitting from Ghana. Ghana also stands the chance to benefit from Rwanda and in that way, we all benefit from each other. This is how in your term, I wish the collaboration between you and Ghana will build up and this is how I wish for the whole of Africa to benefit from our brothers and sisters to develop.”

About AfCFTA
The policy is an intra-Africa trade project adopted by the African Union in 2012 and is aimed at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

It is envisioned to promote socio-economic growth development as it will connect 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.

According to the World Bank, it has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty.

The objectives of the AfCFTA are to:
· Create a single market for goods, and services, facilitated by the movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent and in accordance with the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in Agenda 2063;

· Create a liberalised market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations;

· Contribute to the movement of capital and natural resources and facilitate investments building on the initiatives and developments being undertaken by the State Parties and RECs;

· Lay the foundation for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union at a later stage;

· Promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformation of the State Parties;

· Enhance the competitiveness of the economies of State Parties within the continent and the global market;

· Promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security;

· Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes

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