Madam Samia Yaba Nkrumah, Chairperson of Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) has commended African leaders and thinkers for their strong consensus to adopt regional integration as a tool for unlocking the economies of scale and sharpening competitiveness.

She said the continent had a market of one billion consumers which could be a powerful engine for growth and employment to promote intra-African trade as a top priority.

She made this known during the unveiling of Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s statue at the new African Union (AU) Headquarters in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.

The event was part of the activities marking the 18th Summit of African Heads of State at the AU on January 28 on the theme: “increasing intra-African trade.”

Madam Nkrumah said despite the introduction of free trade areas, customs unions, and common markets within the Region, the level of intra-African trade remains among the lowest in the world.

She noted that only about 10 per cent of African trade was within the continent, compared to about 40 per cent in North America and about 60 per cent in Western Europe.

“I believe we are in agreement that what will transform Africa’s potential in the end is pan-continental trade, underpinned by concrete and substantial agreements,” she said.

She explained that intra-African trade is a golden key to sustain growth since many African countries are on the point of making the transition from dependence.

Madam Nkrumah said the continent needed a strong and unified voice in global trade to deliver a better deal for its citizens and be a significant driver of growth for the world in the era ahead.

She said the greatest honour and everlasting tribute Africa could pay to Dr Nkrumah was the realisation of his dream of integration of the African economy on a continental scale to deliver greater prosperity for the people.

“This challenge falls to our generation of leaders. For too long the borders of our nations have been allowed to hold Africa’s people back. We believe it is time to make African free trade the common purpose of the continent”, she said.

She called on African Leaders to set a wonderful legacy for the founding fathers of AU by placing the continent on a path to prosperity and stability. GNA

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