Former Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou who completed the project to create the Continental Free Trade Area (Zlecaf) will be celebrated this Thursday by his former peers in Accra, land of Kwame Nkrumah, for having promoted the economic integration of the continent.
Accra, the capital of Ghana which houses the headquarters of Zlecaf, has erected for continental posterity a statue in honor of Mahamadou Issoufou, which will be officially unveiled during a tribute ceremony organized in his honor at the headquarters of secretariat of the Zlecaf.
The ceremony will take place, according to our sources, in the presence of his successor Mohamed Bazoum, the Ghanaian host Nana Akufo-Addo, the president of the DRC, Félix Tshisekedi, also current president of the African Union (AU), and the chairman of the AU commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. The South African head of state has, according to the information in our possession, renounced the displacement of Accra given the situation of disturbances and looting in some parts of his country for a few days.
Formerly appointed by the conference of heads of state and government of the AU to carry out the process of economic integration of the continent in the light of previous and posterior aspirations, ex-president Issoufou carried the Zlecaf, a project materializing the vision formerly thought by the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (now the AU) in 1963; vision updated by the designers of NEPAD during the transformation of the OAU into the AU in the 2000s.
It is fitting to point out that this is the first time that a continental agreement has been negotiated, ratified and implemented in such a short time, tells us an official of the AU Economic Commission. All 55 member states have signed the agreement launched in Kigali and 36 have already ratified it, allowing it to enter into force. Zeclaf makes Africa a single market of 1.2 billion people combined with a GDP of 3 trillion dollars, although many obstacles remain to be removed, such as non-tariff barriers.
In view of all the above, it seems to us wise to point out that the AfCFTA is a platform on which Africa can rebuild its economies and move forward with courage and determination towards the achievement of its common ambitions enshrined in Agenda 2063 of the African Union: the Africa we want.
To date, 54 of the 55 member states are signatories and 37 member states have already ratified the AfCFTA Agreement and deposited their instruments of ratification. It is necessary to continue to mobilize all the Member States of the African Union which have not yet signed and ratified the AfCFTA Agreement to do so as soon as possible because the train whistled from Niamey station in July 2019 continues on its way.
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