The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, appeared in Parliament on Thursday to brief parliamentarians on the right given to Ghana to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was received with huge applause from both sides of the House.
Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) were unanimous in praising the President, Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Minister of Trade for working so hard to get the Secretariat sited in Ghana, which they said would bring huge economic gains to the nation.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, was particularly appreciative of the efforts of the Minister of Trade, whom he described as a man with wide international acceptability within the trade area.
He said with the hosting of the Secretariat, Ghana must be careful and strengthen its local trade laws to protect local industries.
The NDC MP for North Tongu and ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the AfCFTA was the beginning of making Africa more powerful economically and would definitely improve the economies of the various African countries who had signed on to the agreement.
For his part, the Minister of Trade said seven countries including Ghana bid for the hosting of the Secretariat but three nations withdrew their bids and threw their weight behind Ghana's bid.
The six other nations were Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, Madagascar and Eswatini, but Senegal, Ethiopia and Egypt withdrew and supported Ghana's bid.
“Mr Speaker, Ghana should leverage the opportunity of hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat to become the new commercial capital of Africa, a regional trade hub and economic epic-centre and the new gateway to the continent,” the minister said, stressing that a national AfCFTA coordinating office is being established at the Ministry of Trade to act as a one-stop facilitation centre and information hub which would be staffed and operated in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance.