President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged African leaders to safeguard the peace and stability in their respective countries to facilitate development.
This drive for peace and security will be in service of creating an enabling environment for the businesses on the continent to thrive for a smooth take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the President said.
President Akufo-Addo made these remarks while delivering the keynote address at the St. Andrews University’s Africa Summit in Scotland.
He said the new decade will provide an avenue for a new kind of leadership dedicated to guaranteeing the freedoms of African people and deepening democracy.
“Peace and stability on the continent are essential and we must work to establish peace all over our great continent and arrive at an Africa that has turned her back on terrorism, conflict and instability.”
Even though he admitted that the African Union objective of “silencing the guns” in 2020 may not be feasible, he stressed that the leaders “cannot relent in our efforts to achieve this goal especially as the free trade area takes off in July.”
“With micro, small and medium scale enterprises making significant contributions to the economies of Africa, and accounting for the majority of private sector activities in both advanced and emerging market economies, we have to create an enabling environment for our entrepreneurs to thrive and take advantage of our free trade area,” President Nana Akufo Ado said.
Under the AfCFTA, which will take effect in June 2020, signatory countries have committed to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods and lift non-tariff barriers, among other things.
The AfCFTA agreement seeks to create a single African market of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion; a figure that will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.
President Akufo-Addo earlier assured the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union that the AfCFTA will be operational by March 31, 2020.