The Executive Chairman/CEO, at BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, has expressed his organisation’s readiness to work towards the implementation and success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement which when fully operational, will transform the African economy and enhance development across the continent. Rabiu stated this while receiving the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene and the Acting Director, National Office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Liman, at the BUA Head Office in Lagos.
He spoke in depth about the current status of regional agreements from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union, dumping, proliferation of small arms and illicit smuggling, the Trans-African highway and Private sector/African Union/government partnerships – noting that these issues were critical to the success of the AfCFTA.
He specifically said due to the poor implementation of regional trade agreements, there is a high level of distrust among Africa nations despite their support for AfCFTA.
The BUA boss however expressed concern over “a situation where people cannot move goods produced in African countries where over 90 per cent value has been added to other countries”. While proffering solutions to the problems of trade on the continent, Rabiu said for the AfCFTA integration to be successful, there must be free movement through liberalised air travel, operations, and visa-free regimes across the Africa continent for businesses and individuals. He also emphasized that private sector must engage with African governments to discuss the way forward for sustainable investments and partnerships, noting that the private sector has a lot to offer the continent saying, “For cross border trade to work, everyone – governments, private sector and DFIs must be willing to collaborate fast to fix infrastructure to spur growth. BUA is interested in being part of these effort and we also urge the secretariat to look into a private-sector led development of the Trans African Highway. I am personally ready to mobilize like-minded businesses across the continent with the resources required (steel, cement, etc.) to do these roads at a concession and guaranteed by sovereign African nations. This can be done by the private sector with support from governments and the DFIs.”