In partnership with Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA), this conference was organized under the theme: “Connecting African special economic zones to global value chains at the era of the African free trade area (AfCFTA)” with the contribution of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), united Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The statement released by the organization in Accra said that the opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Ahmed BENNIS, Secretary General of The Africa Economic Zones Organization as well as his Excellency, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information of Republic of GHANA and her Excellency Mrs. Carmen Ndaot, Minister of Investment Promotion-Gabon.
The ceremony was marked by the speeches of H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General-AfCFTA Secretariat, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development bank (AfDB) and H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry (AUC).
Held in a hybrid format, with a physical meeting in compliance with health and safety measures of the WHO.
According to the statement, this year’s edition brought together more than 120 in-house guests and senior experts and no less than 1,500 participants connected online and interacting with C-Level representatives from Economic Zones, investment & promotion agency, leading financial institutions, and international organizations and are expected.
“The high-level experts representing international institutions provided guidance on the establishment of the special Economic Zones and their strategic role in accelerating Africa's economic diversification and their contribution to the development of Global Value Chains in the context of the African free trade area (AfCFTA),” it said.
In his speech at the meeting, Mr. Ahmed BENNIS, Secretary General of The Africa Economic Zones Organization said: ”The challenge therefore for African SEZ is not just a matter of attracting investors or joining value chains, it’s also about increasing the share of value added created locally. In the context of AfCFTA agreement, the SEZ should contribute to improving logistic competitiveness and strengthening their regional integration.”
The Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) was founded in November 2015 by Tanger Med Group, the leading logistics Hub in Africa and the Mediterranean region with the participation of representatives from several other African economic zones.
It brings together the main African economic zones and institutions in charge of the development, management, and promotion of economic zones in Africa and offers a platform of exchange and knowledge sharing for the benefit of the economic zones’ ecosystem in Africa.
AEZO is comprises 82 members representing 42 African countries and is guided by its strategic orientations to “foster collective knowledge sharing, provide strategic and technical assistance, connect with international business network and promote sustainable economic models and practices with devoted focus on growth and prosperity.