Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has expressed gratitude to its host government for their continual support towards the seamless operation of the secretariat in spearheading the integration of the continent through trade.
Addressing a gathering of ambassadors and high commissioners of the AU member states, he indicated that the support from Ghana government has been helpful to the significant and impactful to the business of the Secretariat.
“Once again thank you the government of Ghana for the support that has been provided to make sure that the Secretariat takes off to a good start; we have been able to host meetings and drive the implementation of the AfCFTA amid the pandemic with the support of government,” he said.
The AfCFTA Secretary General also thanked the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the AU Member Countries for their support in the year 2021 as well as the Champion of the AfCFTA and former President of Niger, His Excellency Mahamudu Issufu.
Wamkele Mene seized the opportunity to highlight some progress made on some negotiated protocols so far as well as the permanent structure of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
He said decision of the host country to set up a transitional team has been very successful but indicated that there will be a permanent structure which will have 296 officers recruited over a four-year period across all regions of the continent, representing gender balance and language.
Mr. Mene described the diversity of professional talents at the Secretariat as unique and exemplary.
He said: “We have directors from the East, West, North and Central Africa; we have Arabic, English, French nationals. We are the only organ in the African Union that has achieved this balance on the basis of competence. I’m not aware of other organ that has made such achievement within such a short period of time.”
The AfCFTA boss hinted that going into the years ahead the Secretariat will consider innovative ways of resource mobilization to finance its activities in order to avoid unpleasant dependencies.
“We have also made progress in resource mobilization; a larger part of our operational budget comes from member states of the African Union, with support from the European Union, GIZ, and the Danish government. These three donors in particular had already pledged their commitment to support the AfCFTA agenda even before the Secretariat was established. Looking ahead, it is possible for the trade secretariat to be self-sufficient in terms of resources,” he added.