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South Africa’s Wamkele Mene voted as Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat

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A South African, Wamkele Mene, has been voted as the first Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA), at the ongoing 33rd ordinary session of the heads of state and government of the African Union.

The 40-year-old has previously worked as the Head of Mission to the World Trade Organisation for South Africa.

Wamkele Mene was South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations.

Prior to assuming this position, Wamkele was a senior trade diplomat, negotiating on behalf of South Africa at the World Trade Organisation.

He holds an LL.M in Banking Law and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science; an M.A. in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London; and a B.A. Law from Rhodes University.”

He will be heading the AfCFTA Secretariat to be located in Accra, Ghana, when the AfCFTA kicks off in July this year.

121 candidates applied for the Secretary-General of AfCFTA post

As many as one hundred and twenty-five candidates, all African citizens, applied for the job.

Two prominent Ghanaians, including a former Minister of State under the previous administration, made it to the shortlist of 30 candidates, but could not make it to the final shortlist of six candidates who went through series of evaluations.

The finalists were from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Morocco.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a single market Duty-free Quota-free trading bloc covering the entire African Continent with a total population of about 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost US$3 trillion. The operational phase of the Agreement was formally launched on 7th July 2019 at the African Union Summit in Niamey, Niger.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a single market Duty-free Quota-free trading bloc covering the entire African Continent with a total population of about 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost US$3 trillion. The operational phase of the Agreement was formally launched on 7th July 2019 at the African Union Summit in Niamey, Niger.

AfCFTA secretariat will be operational by March 31 – Akufo-Addo assures AU

Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has also assured the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union that the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be operational by 31st March, 2020.

The President said this when she spoke at the 33rd AU Summit on Sunday, 9th February 2020, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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