Former President, John Dramani Mahama, has called on African nations and its leadership to strive for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, this has become necessary following the celebration of Africa Day and the need to ensure there’s cohesion among African nations. He indicated that he is hopeful with the implementation of AfCFTA, African nations will be disposed to certain privileges.
“As we applaud the collective efforts of African nations to promote peace, development and integration, we must also strive for the efficient implementation of the AfCFTA and hope for Africans to be able to travel visa-free within our own African borders and explore trading opportunities with ease and comfort.”John Dramani Mahama
AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to create a single market for the continent.
Under the agreement, AfCFTA members are committed to eliminating tariffs on most goods and services over a period of 5, 10, or 13 years, depending on the country’s level of development or the nature of the products.
General long-term objectives include creating a single, liberalised market; reducing barriers to capital and labor to facilitate investment; developing regional infrastructure; and establishing a continental customs union. The overall aims of AfCFTA are to increase socioeconomic development, reduce poverty, and make Africa more competitive in the global economy.
Unity among African nations required
Meanwhile, Governance Lecturer at the Central University, Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah has called for Africa’s unity and development as the continent marks Africa Day today, May 25.
Despite the day being formed as a manifestation of the pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free and in control of its own destiny but, to Dr Otchere-Ankrah, 60 years on, believes that the vision for Africa to develop hasn’t been fully realized.
Dr Otchere-Ankrah expressed disappointment in the leadership and citizens of African States for exhibiting behaviors that do not improve the continent. He equally condemned the habit of projecting bad things about Africa, making the continent have a bad name and appear everything is wrong on the continent.
Dr. Otchere-Ankrah explained that the African continent is rich enough to be calling the shots, hence the need for leaders in Africa to wake up and undertake activities geared towards the development of the continent.
“We have a long way to go but let’s start from somewhere . . . When you go somewhere, they will tell you they have CNN or BBC but, in Africa, we don’t have any media house projecting Africa. It is only the negative things we project about us but I have seen people sleeping along the roads in America. Yet, we think ours is always bad. It’s not that bad, yes, but let’s get somewhere. Let’s improve for posterity sake.”Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah
Elsewhere, President Akufo-Addo has expressed the need for African countries to unite. He revealed that they must come together to trade among themselves.
The President noted that no country can afford to do it alone and in Africa, nations cannot allow their collective faith to be decided by exogenous shocks thousands of miles away. He stated that the time is long overdue for Africa and Africans to define their own narrative. This narrative, he explained, must be defined by what Africans see in themselves and not what other countries choose to say about them.
The African continent celebrates 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and now, the African Union (AU).
It was on this date in 1963 that 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia along with leaders from African liberation movements to forge a way forward for Africa’s independence from imperialism, colonialism and apartheid; resulting in the creation of Africa’s first post-independence continental institution named the Organization of African Unity.
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