CAPE TOWN – Business Unity South Africa (Busa) president Sipho Pityana on Tuesday congratulated Wamkele Mene on his election as first secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mene was selected after a vote against Nigeria at the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday afternoon.
DescriptionThe African Continental Free Trade Area is a free trade area which as of 2018 includes 28 countries. It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 AU nations.
Pityana said: “We are confident that Mene has what it takes to ensure rapid implementation of the AfCFTA, and to maximise the opportunities it presents. This is a significant appointment for South Africa and the continent, and it is particularly notable that it takes place during the same AU session at which President Cyril Ramaphosa took over the chairmanship of the AU.”
Mene – who was South Africa’s chief negotiator in the AfCFTA and is a former diplomat at the World Trade Organisation – will be inaugurated along with other members of the AfCFTA Secretariat in March, ahead of the July 1 target date for the free trade agreement to kick in.