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AU reappoints Wamkele Mene as AfCFTA Secretary-General

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The Authority of the Heads of State of the African Union (AU) has reappointed Wamkele Mene as Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a second four-year term, the continental free trade body said Monday.

The decision was endorsed during the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the AU ongoing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“At the last session of AU Summit, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union unanimously expressed their confidence in H.E. Mene Wamkele reappointing him for another four years as Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat,” according to the post on the secretariat’s official X (Twitter) handle AfCFTA Secretariat Official @AfCFTA.

The South African was first elected to the position by the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States & Government of the African Union in February 2020 with the responsibility to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the agreement among African states.

His first term at the position saw 47 countries ratifying and depositing their instruments of ratification, and 46 schedules of tariff concessions representing 85 percent of AU member states received.

The AfCFTA Dispute Settlement Mechanism has also become operational, and the AfCFTA Secretariat teamed up with the Afreximbank to launch the Pan-African Payments and Settlements System (PAPSS) to facilitate easy transactions on the continent.

In addition, Rules of Origin have been negotiated with 88.3 percent high coverage, and national implementation of AfCFTA has commenced with 25 AU member countries.

Before his role in the AFCFTA, Mene served as the Chief Director: Africa Economic Relations, at the Department of Trade & Industry of South Africa.

From 2010 until 2015, he represented South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. He was elected to the position of Chairman of the WTO’s Committee on International Trade in Financial Services.

Mene holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree from Rhodes University and a master’s degree in international studies and diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies.   He also earned an LL.M degree in Banking Law and Financial Regulations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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