By Merit Ibe [email protected]
Stakeholders have said the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) has the potential to grow trade value in Nigeria to the tune of $12 billion by 2027. This was disclosed during the Nigeria AfCFTA implementation strategy validation in Lagos, where they said the agreement could also reduce trade cost by 20 per cent by facilitating the enactment of an omnibus bill on the AfCFTA.
The implementation strategy, developed by the National Action Committee (NAC) on AfCFTA, identifies priority actions to be undertaken by the Government of Nigeria to effectively realise the full benefits of the AfCFTA. It was reviewed by a technical panel last month in Lagos.
In his remarks, Senior Advisor in the Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi, highlighted that the ECA, through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) has been working with member states to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development.
“Nigeria has demonstrated high commitment to the implementation of AfCFTA,” Adeyemi noted, adding, “it is my conviction that the feedback from the workshop will further enrich the strategy and form the basis for an upgraded document for the Government’s consideration and eventual adoption.”
He assured the meeting that the ECA will continue to support the Government of Nigeria in its economic transformation and development agenda, towards the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.
A Consultant with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Prof. Bankole Abiodun said within the Strategy Document, policies that would need updating have been identified.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Justification for the AfCFTA-Macroeconomic Assessment’, Professor of International Economic Relations, Covenant University and consultant of ECOWAS Common Investment Market, Prof. Jonathan Aremu said “Nigeria’s potential to become a major player in the global economy by virtual of its market size, human and natural resource endowments, has never been in doubt but this potential has remained relatively untapped over the years.
Former secretary, National Action Committee (NAC) on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, said the agreement would execute trade facilitation and infrastructure programmes to improve competitiveness.
“AfCFTA will grow trade value to $12 billion, reduce trade cost by 20 per cent by facilitating enactment of an omnibus bill on AfCFTA,” he said.
Anatogu stated that the validation of Nigeria’s strategic choices on how to win under the AfCFTA was critical.
According to him, Nigeria’s strategies had outlined deliberate choices based on its market’s location, the country’s strengths and areas of preparedness for Nigerian businesses to trade in Africa and beyond.