Continent’s leaders gather in Mauritania
By Tajudeen Hamzat
Pressure is being put on Nigeria and ten other African states that are yet to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, #AfCFTA to sign onto the scheme at the 31st Summit of the Heads of States of the African Union which opens Saturday at the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.
The Difference checks reveal that in the thinking of many of the leaders of the continent, Nigeria and South Africa are needed to sign up for the scheme, given the fact of their playing host to two of the most expansive economies on the continent.
Underscoring this point, and ahead of the Summit of Heas of States, -AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, ha, while addressing an Executive sSssion of the Union ahead of the 31st Summit of Heads of States.
‘The Extraordinary AU summit, held in Kigali in March 2018, was certainly a success. Forty-four Member States have signed the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area and 31 the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment. Seven Member States have already ratified the Free Trade Area Agreement, of which four of which Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Niger, have deposited the relevant instruments. One Member State, Rwanda, ratified the Protocol on Free Movement and deposited its instrument of ratification.
I urge the Member States that have not yet done so, to make the necessary arrangements to become parties to these instruments. It is equally important that the Member States that have not yet done so to join the Single African Air Transport Market.
I would like to stress here the crucial importance of the free movement of persons.
As I have had the opportunity to say it on many occasions, it is high time that Africans cease to be foreigners on their own continent. I congratulate those Member States that have already taken steps to ease visa procedures or simply abolished them for African citizens.
I seize this opportunity to stress that it is important, for our collective credibility, that Africans be treated with dignity and respect across the continent.’
Other than the Free Trade Agreement, other issues expected to be addressed at the session include the crisis of corruption on the continent, questions of peace and security as well as the protocols on illicit arms and their proliferation.
AU Chairman, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda