Accra, July 16, GNA – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and partners have recognized the tireless efforts of former President Issoufou Mahamadou to the realisation of the ideals of AfCFTA.
The partners, the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), recognised the former Nigerien President for his selfless contribution to Africa and in positioning the continent for a once in a generation opportunity to take transformative steps in the economic development of our continent.
Mr Wamkele MENE, Secretary-General AfCFTA Secretariat, speaking at an event to unveil a statue in honour of Mr Mahamadou for his Leadership in establishing the AfCFTA, said the commemoration was for Mr Mahamadou’s pivotal leadership and Pan-African vision in driving the realisation of the AfCFTA.
His key achievements include the successful conclusion of the AfCFTA negotiations as AU Champion for AfCFTA; the entry into force; the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA; the January 1, 2021 start of trading under the AfCFTA; thus being pivotal in placing industrialisation, market liberalisation, economic diversification and economic integration at the Centre of the African Union’s agenda.
He said with AfCFTA becoming a reality, the desire for economic integration in Africa would not evade the continent much longer.
The Secretary-General said since 2012, in a short space of time, under the leadership of former President Issoufou, remarkable progress was achieved largely because of the political will and commitment of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, to ensure that Africa took concrete steps towards the creation of an integrated market.
He said without the sense of determination and the political will of the Heads of States, “we will not have made the progress that we are able to celebrate today and AfCFTA is a milestone for Africa’s journey towards prosperity and economic development.”
“Without the singular contribution of former President Issoufou, to the AfCFTA, it is doubtful that we would have achieved the progress that we celebrate today,” he said.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, said, “we fulfil the commitment borne out of our deep appreciation of the sterling leadership and personal sacrifices of President Issoufou.”
He said the former Nigerien President dedicated his time, intellect, energy, and political Will to ensure the realisation of a Pan-African vision of economic integration that has been our ambition for over six decades.
He said we felt a profound sense of fulfilment and pride as Africans today, not only because we had advanced African integration through the AfCFTA, but because we have an opportunity to recognise and celebrate a great African, who with the support of his colleagues, their courageous leaders, has without any shred of doubt left indelible footprints on the sands of time.
“You have equipped us with the armour to conduct the battle for Africa’s economic emancipation, an armour that will sound the death knell for Africa’s underdevelopment and deindustrialisation and one that will help Africa re-emerge as a global economic force and realise the ambitions of “Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want,” he said.
He said the institutional framework was created; it is now up to them, the enabling and supporting institutions, to nurture it to rise to become what we dreamt of and when they come together as one people with a common purpose, they could they could achieve the goals of the AfCFTA.
“Success is inevitable when all African trade, policy, development institutions and the private sector work in concert and pool our resources towards the implementation of the AfCFTA,” he added.
Former President Issoufou dedicated the recognition to the Nigerien people and the Pan-Africanism for their support.
“In honouring me, you have honoured the people of Niger.”
He said political will and support from the Heads of States and Government made the realisation of the AfCFTA concept a reality.