Nigeria was one of the countries that took long to sign onto the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). There were even suspicions in some cycles that it wasn’t going to sign, creating fears that the refusal of the largest economy in West Africa to sign to the historical agreement would be bad for the deal. Nigeria signed the agreement on July 2, 2019 to join what would be the largest trade area in the world serving a market of 1.3 billion people, and valued at $2.5 trillion.
The AfCFTA came into effect on May 30, 2019.
As part of efforts to deepen the process of actualizing the AfCFTA, Nigeria is hosting a Forum under the theme: “Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA for Industrialization and Inclusive Economic Development”.
The Forum, set for December 5-6, 2019 in Lagos, is being co-organized with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the European Union, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC).
According to a press release from the ECA copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, the forum is also a platform to actively engage with and consult intra-African actors across a diverse range of different sectors to better understand how the agreement can shape more inclusive economic development in Nigeria.
Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi, a Senior Advisor with the African Trade Policy Centre at the ECA says:
“This AfCFTA Forum will bring together the private sector in Nigeria to afford them the opportunity to learn how to best leverage the opportunities within the AfCFTA. The role of the private sector is critical in its implementation.”
In a related development, Cote d’Ivoire is meeting to validate it national strategy to implement the AfCFTA.
During a workshop in Abidjan, organized by the ECA and the Ivorian government from December 4 to 5, 2019, the national strategy would be considered in line with how it would guide the implementation process of the AfCFTA for the country.
According to the ECA, the strategy, which is based on a participatory and inclusive process that allowed for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, has as its main purpose the definition of a framework for the application of the measures contained in the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA and which aim at the liberalisation of the national market, which will then be inserted harmoniously in an integration framework at the continental level.
Its effective implementation, the ECA adds, will significantly increase exports to sub-regions other than the ECOWAS.
The industrial sector is expected to reap the most benefits from this trade expansion that could rise to 8.5 per cent, making the Agreement an opportunity for industrialisation and for the promotion of a tool for the structural transformation of the economy, it says.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi