South African Wamkele Mene has been elected the first-ever secretary-general of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
He was elected secretary after seven rounds of voting. He will head the secretariat to oversee the AfCFTA, which needs to be implemented by July.
“We have to roll up our sleeves and work. Priority will be to ensure that implementation instruments required are in place by 1 July,” Mene said.
The set of AfCFTA legal instruments comprise:
- A Framework Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area;
- A Protocol on Trade in Goods;
- A Protocol on Trade in Services; and,
- A Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes.
“It means we place merit and experience above politics when we elect senior leaders in the AU. I’m acutely aware of the responsibility on my shoulders to ensure that young people leaders are able to deliver and make a significant contribution,” he added.
He is from South Africa’s department of trade and industry and the country’s chief negotiator during discussions on the free trade area.
The headquarters of the trade commission will be in Ghana.