Heads of State and Government of all the 55 African countries posing for a group photo on the sidelines of the 32nd ordinary session that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. July 7, 2019. African Union Commission (AUC)
CAIRO - 7 July 2019: The main goal of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government is the selection of an African country that houses the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) whose operational phase will be launched on Sunday.
Seven members states, which are Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal, have submitted bids to host the secretariat. The decision will be made during the general assembly encompassing the heads of state and government.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council on Thursday in Niamey, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said that the idea of creating an “African Economic Community” dates back to 1963.
AfCFTA came into force on May 30 after 22 AU member states had ratified it. Afterwards, three other states submitted their instruments of ratification so that the total number of ratifying states became 25.
In the aftermath of the launch of the operational phase, traders across Africa will be able to benefit from preferential trade arrangements offered by the AfCFTA. Nevertheless, traders have to bear in mind that the transactions must be among “the Member States that have deposited the instruments of ratification and those that conform to the provisions on rules of origin governing trade in the AfCFTA,” the AU website indicates.
A series of statutory and technical meetings are taking place in Niamey on July 4-8. On Monday, a meeting including the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will be held.
Throughout the summit, matters pertinent to the institutional reform programme that should contribute in the achievement of the vision and goals of Agenda 2063 are discussed.
Faki had underlined the AUC’s commitment to work closely with the Permanent Representatives Committee to adequately implement different programmes, and shortly execute and enforce the recommendations of the internal and external auditors.