Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to move quickly and implement an open sky policy for member states to ease travels and boost trade in Africa.
AfCFTA, with its headquarters in Ghana, is aimed at boosting and accelerating intra-African trade and strengthening Africa’s trading position on the global market.
Addressing a virtual 1st Africa Trade Roundtable by the University of Professional Studies Law School on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, Dr Bawumia said implementing an open-sky policy, which is to ease air travel restrictions, is key to realising the full benefits of the AfCFTA among member states.
Dr Bawumia stressed that it is important for the AfCFTA to adopt the open-air policy to ensure that the AfCFTA charter does not remain on paper without benefiting member states and the people.
“I will like to ask the AfCFTA Secretariat to move quickly; Africans don’t want to see this [AfCFTA] as a paper once again signed”.
“We want to see implementation”.
“We want the quick wins”.
“We want to see that this agreement is bringing real change on the continent,” Dr Bawumia said.
“And for that matter, I am challenging the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Secretary-General to move quickly, for example, in the implementation of open skies across the African continent so that we can fly very easily among ourselves.”
He said in the context of the protocol of the service, “I think it is something that can be actioned quickly and we should move. It is something that requires commitment.”
“I don’t think it is something that requires more than that and we should move quickly to have open skies across the African continent, at least, between the 38 countries that have ratified so far and among everybody else who ratifies subsequently.”
Dr Bawumia also urged AU member states and other stakeholders to show commitment toward the successful implementation of the AfCFTA by instituting supporting measures.