African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) President Akinwumi A. Adesina and 10 African Heads of State and Government were on Friday honoured for their leadership in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) process.The AfCFTA, the largest free trade area in the world, began trading on 1 January 2021 and is expected to speed up the recovery of the continent and enhance its resilience by increasing the level of intra-African trade in goods and services.
The award was organised by AeTrade Group in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Business Council, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.“As Africans, we are proud of the extraordinary effort made by our leaders towards the success of the AfCFTA,” said former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Boshe at an event held at the Addis Ababa headquarters of the African Union and joined virtually by many participants.Boshe, a patron of the AeTrade Group, thanked the awardees for their strong leadership in the process that led to the AfCFTA coming into force.Ambassador Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, noted that the AfCFTA had generated strong support in Africa and the Diaspora, “and we are proud to acknowledge our champions who have been at the forefront of this process.”
He took the opportunity to thank the heads of state and governments whose countries have ratified the Free Trade Agreement and invited others to follow suit.
“We are also celebrating the key milestones achieved from when we laid the foundation for the initiative to the official start of trading on January 1. I would like to call on governments and the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities created by the continental initiative to make Africa more prosperous,” added Muchanga.