AfCFTA Secretary General commends Africa’s business leaders for supporting game-changing trade pact

AfCFTA Secretary General commends Africa’s business leaders for supporting game-changing trade pact

Addis Ababa, 20 January 2021, ECA — The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Wamkele Mene, today praised business leaders on the continent for their support, saying this was crucial for the success of the trade agreement.

At a ceremony organized by Africa’s business leaders in Cairo to light a trade touch aimed at promoting the trade bloc, the Secretary General promised to work with the business people for the benefit of the continent. He said the AfCFTA agreement was not negotiated for trade negotiators but for the business community to expand markets, create jobs and accelerate innovation in a bid to improve the lives of 1.2 billion Africans.

“I’m very happy that we have the support of experienced and distinguished business leaders who want to make a contribution, who want to see the AfCFTA succeed,” said Mr. Mene. He said there was no reason why the continent could not advance its economic development and reduce poverty and promised to collaborate with African businesses to end the fragmentation of the continent’s markets.

“We’re going to work very closely with the business community across the length and breadth of the African continent. We are going to introduce initiatives along with the business community aimed at creating jobs, opportunities for young Africans, for women in trade, particularly women in trade and small medium enterprises,” Mr. Mene said.

Business leaders from Lagos, Abuja, Mombasa, Cape Town and other African cities joined virtually, lighting their own symbolic torches.

The AfCFTA agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 after 22 countries ratified it – the minimum number required by the agreement. The number has since grown to 36 countries. Trading was earlier scheduled to start on 1 July 2020 but was postponed to 1 January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development.

The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union to assist with the implementation of the agreement.

Issued by:

Communication Section

Economic Commission for Africa

PO Box 3001

Addis Ababa


Tel. +251 11551 5826