Kenya and Ghana Thursday handed over to the African Union Commission (AUC) the documents ratifying the continental free trade deal, becoming the first two countries to do so.
The two countries' representatives handed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) papers to the AUC chairman, Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Addis Ababa.
“Definitely Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta must be proud of you and proud of us,” said Dr Mahamat, upon receiving the AfCFTA documents.
“We encourage other member states to follow your footsteps and ratify the continental free trade agreement,” he added.
The AfCFTA protocol was signed by 44 African countries last March in Kigali, Rwanda during a special summit of African heads of states. Only 11, out of AU’s total 55 member states, were yet sign the protocol.
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Like any other protocol or convention, after the signatures of the heads of state, AfCFTA has to go through the legal process of each country to be approved as law and domesticated accordingly.
“We are hopeful that within the next nine to twelve months we are going to achieve the minimum 22 countries required to implement the agreement,” said Albert M. Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry.
Commenting on the significance of their action, Kenya’s ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti Catherine Muigai Mwangi, said that as indicated in the blueprint of Agenda 2063, the ratification and implementation was mandatory for the free movement of people and goods.
“It is a major milestone in achieving this goal of integration among African countries. I encourage all other member states to ratify,” she said in Addis Ababa.