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President Arrives From AU Session In Kigali   
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo returned to Ghana on Wednesday after attending the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), in Kigali, Rwanda.

He was met on arrival at the Jubilee Lounge of the Kotoka International Airport by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the brass of the security institutions, Ministers and other senior state officials.

President Akufo-Addo at the meeting joined 43 other African Heads of state to sign onto a Continental agreement to set up a massive free-trade area to improve Africa's integration agenda and boost economic growth.

With the signing in Kigali of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), and the formal launch of the agreement, President Akufo-Addo said it was time to scale up the momentum of the Continent’s integration agenda to give boost to Africa’s Common market process that “presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to the continent with hard work, enterprise and creativity.”

He noted that the coming into being of the CFTA, was one of the most important decisions the African Union would ever take.

The President pledged Ghana’s commitment to the success of the agreement and urged other African Heads to demonstrate the political will to make the African Union (AU) an economic and political Success.

“The time is now right that we demonstrate strong political will to make the African Union an economic and political success, and to make the project of integration real,” he noted, indicating Ghana’s readiness to host the CFTA Secretariat in Accra.

President Akufo-Addo held that a working, common continental market had to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent.

Research, he said, has shown that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest levels of intra-regional trade and "It is, thus, vital that the treaty works, and that the Continental Free Trade Area becomes reality.”

The President explained that an increase in trade was the surest way to develop fruitful relations between African countries.

“An increase in trade is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between our respective countries… It will mean a rapid increase in exchanges of our agricultural, financial, industrial, scientific and technological products, which would enhance dramatically our attainment of prosperity, and the prospects of employment for the broad masses of Africans, particularly our youth,” he added.

 President Akufo-Addo appended his signature to the three legal instruments namely; the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area; the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons; and the Kigali Declaration, which have brought the CFTA into being.

The CFTA agreement would have to be ratified by individual countries.
Source: GNA

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