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South Africa’s Wamkele Mene Elected To Lead World’s Largest Free Trade Area, AfCFTA

Young South African diplomat Wamkele Mene, has been elected as the first Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The trade law expert and negotiator will lead the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is addressed as world’s largest free trade area, by the number of countries once it’s fully in operation, according to the World Economic Forum.

With its secretariat in Accra, Ghana where Wamkele Mene and the AfCFA team will work to ensure all issues and activities of the trade pact are addressed.

Here are five things you need to know about the Wamkele Mene:

  • He holds an LL.M in Banking Law and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science; an M.A. in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London; and a B.A. Law from Rhodes University.”
  • He served as South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations.
  • He was also a senior trade law expert and negotiator on behalf of South Africa at the World Trade Organisation
  • In 2010, he was appointed Deputy Ambassador, South African Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He was later named the Chairman, Committee on International Trade in Financial Services at the World Trade Organisation. 
  • Mene has extensive knowledge of trade diplomacy, trade representation, government to government representation, investment, and resolution of investment disputes.

The AfCFTA agreement was adopted and opened for signature on March 21, 2018, in Kigali. The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019. The agreement seeks to cut tariffs within the bloc, boosts trade, eliminate border barriers and create the world’s largest free trade area.

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