36 out of 55 countries in Africa ready for AfCFTA — Wamkele Mene

The Secretary-General for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), H.E. Wamkele Mene has said 36 out of the 55 countries in Africa are ready for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He indicated that the 36 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification to adhere to the sets of trade laws agreed to by the AfCFTA.

H.E. Wamkele Mene has assured that the AfCFTA secretariat will go beyond just the speech and policies to starting an action plan.

He added that the new plan will see the outfit partner the AU and UNECA to launch an industrial development forum so that the investor community, business community, and policymakers can chart forward an industrial action plan for Africa for the next 15 to 20 years.

Speaking via Zoom from Addis Ababa during the virtual edition of the Ghana Petroleum Conference 2021 on Wednesday, H.E. Wamkele Mene said the petroleum industry can be developed with the right policies to guide investments.

On the petroleum downstream sector, he has indicated the need to build a robust petroleum industry for the continent to develop.

He said adding value to crude oil is the way to go for the continent to become a net exporter of refined petroleum products.

Marching forward as the new Africa, the Secretary-General for AfCFTA says the goals for which all the African countries have come together is achievable if the Petroleum Industry on the continent is put at the center.

“Without the petroleum industry, without value addition in the petroleum industry, with the development of beneficiation capacity in Africa, the trade that we seek to boost in Africa will not be achieved to the same level as we would,” H.E. Wamkele Mene said while speaking on the theme “Positioning Africa’s Petroleum Downstream for AfCFTA.”

He stressed that the petroleum industry is absolutely an integral part of Africa’s industrialization. “We should strive to be more of We should strive to make sure that we rely less on the exportation of crude oil to other countries for them to refine our product for us and sell them back to us,” H.E. Wamkele Mene added.

He believes that once this is done, it will dismantle the colonial economic model that sees the continent yearly exporting crude oil and rather rely more on our own refinery capacity to contribute to Africa’s growth and transformation.