BUHARI Signs African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Nigeria now 53rd country in Africa to sign the AfCFTA agreement.

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.

The Nigerian leader signed the agreement on sunday at the first event at the opening of the 12th Extra Ordinary Summit of the African Union on launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA.

Buhari had approved the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement.

President Buhari had delayed in signing the agreement, which entered into force May 30, 2019 to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the Presidential Committee to Assess Impact and Readiness of Nigeria to join the free trade area.

“In accepting the reports as submitted, President Buhari made it clear that Nigerian government will be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.

In his words, “Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda. Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of “made in Africa goods”.

“That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.

“If we allow unbridled imports to continue, it will dominate our trade. The implication of this, is that coastal importing nations will prosper while landlocked nations will continue to suffer and depend on aid.”

The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the agreement which aims to boost intra-African trade.
Twenty four countries have already ratified the AfCFTA which is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2 5 trillion, across all 55 member states of the African Union.

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