With Nigeria’s joining of the African Continental-Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) a done deal, the country’s chances of benefiting from the treaty could depend on how resourcefully it gets its economic acts together.
At exactly 10:47 a.m. yesterday in Niamey, Niger Republic, President Buhari signed the agreement in the presence of African Heads of State and Government, delegates and representatives from the private sector, civil society and the media at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Launch of the operational Phase of the AfCFTA.
The move brought to an end the months of delay and heated debates among stakeholders on the propriety or otherwise of Nigeria jumping on the trade bandwagon.
Buhari acknowledged this when he said: “This is coming over a year since the AfCFTA Agreement was opened for signature in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union, on 21st March 2018”.
On his country’s initial restraint, he explained: “We fully understand the potential of the AfCFTA to transform trade in Africa and contribute towards solving some of the continent’s challenges, whether security, economic or corruption.
“But it is also clear to us that AfCFTA to succeed; we need the full support and buy-in of our private sector and civil society stakeholders and the public in general”.
He promised that Nigeria would sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA.”
He also noted: “Nigeria wishes to emphasize that free trade must also be fair trade” and that “as African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hardworking population.”
The Guardian, July 8, 2019
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