Kigali, 21 March 2018

President Kagame today brought to a conclusion the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union that was held in Kigali, where the continent witnessed the historic signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area by 44 nations. Also signed during the Summit were the Protocol on Free Movement of persons and the Kigali Declaration.

In his closing remarks, President Kagame stated that this was a memorable day for all Africans, and thanked everyone who was involved in achieving the historic continental agreement.

“Today’s milestone is an indication of how much is possible when we work together. Let’s use the momentum we have gained to push forward with the Agenda 2063 flagship projects that we have committed ourselves to in the first Ten-Year Implementation Plan. In order to fully realise the benefits of continental free trade, I would like to underscore the necessity of ensuring that women and young people have their full and rightful place.”

President Kagame pointed out that the need to efficiently manage major programmes such as the agreement was the reason why Africans were prioritising the institutional and financial reform of the African Union.

“I therefore request that we continue to give the reform process the full attention it deserves. It is well understood that some Member States require additional time for internal procedures and consultations. The African Union, and all of us, are going to be called upon to deliver as never before. The task now is to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, so that they may come into force as soon as possible. The private sector is a pillar of a strong and prosperous Africa. I thank business leaders for their active participation in this Summit. This is a very welcome development, which should continue as a lasting partnership.”

While opening the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union, President Kagame who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union, President Kagame stated that the Continental Free Trade Area was the culmination of a vision set forth nearly 40 years ago in the Lagos Plan of Action, adopted by Heads of State in 1980.