Uche Usim, Abuja
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday assured that Nigeria will reap bountifully from the recently-signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as it was bound to grow the economy and provide millions of jobs for the citizens.
He said this at the opening session of the 2019 annual directors’ conference of the Institute of Directors Nigeria in Abuja.
The conference was organised to discuss the Nigeria’s readiness, policy changes and necessary steps required for the country to maximise the benefits from the AfCFTA.
Projections by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said AfCFTA would boost intra-African trade by between by $50billion to $70billion in monetary terms), with a 40 per cent to 50 per cent increase over the first 20 years of its implementation
According to the Vice President, AfCFTA remains a laudable initiative that builds on existing regional initiatives and presents opportunities for increased collaboration and economic integration among African economies.
He said”AfCFTA will also promote a vibrant and competitive industrial sector that is central to job creation and income growth.
“This will improve the human capital base of the economy. Enlarged regional markets will also provide a platform for cooperation on infrastructure development, technology transfer and innovation.
“Therefore, the AfCFTA can transform Nigeria from a ‘target economy’ to the ‘Africa gateway economy,’ boosting job creation through increased intra-African trade, and spurring growth through enhanced economic welfare; with an estimated 8 per cent increase in Nigeria’s total exports.”
On Nigeria’s preparedness for the agreement, he said despite the fact that the country only recently signed the AfCFTA, there are much initiatives that had been put in place by the government.
He said at $35.45billion, Nigeria’s manufacturing value added is about seven times more than the current average for the top 20 African countries.
This, according to him, suggests Nigeria’s productive capacity is at a higher level than that of most African countries.