AfCFTA’ll help Nigeria, others if well Implemented – LCCI
The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, has said the African Continental Free Trade Area will boost economic growth on the continent if well implemented.
Mabogunje noted that the implementation of the agreement had commenced, and some countries had started to trade under the new trade protocol.
“But many others, including Nigeria, are yet to commence trading. Therefore, it has become necessary to deliberate on how we can expedite the implementation of the agreement across countries on the continent,” she said on Tuesday at a forum on the benefits of the trade deal for African economies.
She said the event, themed ‘African Continental Free Trade Agreement: Roadmap to successful implementation’, was part of the public engagement series of the LCCI aimed at facilitating discussions among stakeholders on the appropriate policy steps that would ensure speedy and effective implementation of the agreement.
Noting that the AfCFTA came into effect on January 1, 2021, she said, “The trade treaty marks the biggest free trade area globally in terms of number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
“The trade agreement was borne out of the need to deepen economic integration on the continent considering the Africa’s low intra-regional trade volume in relation to other continents like America, Europe, and Asia.”
According to Mabogunje, the agreement sought to eliminate tariffs on 90 per cent of goods while also enabling micro, small, medium, and large businesses to penetrate new markets and establish strong cross-border supply chains with trade partners on the continent.
She said, “AfCFTA has the potential to accelerate socioeconomic development of the African continent. A well-implemented AfCFTA will stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and facilitate the economic diversification of African economies.
“Estimates by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa revealed that AfCFTA has the capacity to expand Africa’s manufacturing output to $930bn by 2025, from $500bn in 2016. The Brookings Institution see Africa’s economic size rising to $6.7tn by 2030 from $3.4bn in 2019 on the back of a well-implemented AfCFTA.”
Mabogunje said while the take-off of AfCFTA should be lauded, much work remained to be done as critical parts of the agreement were yet to be finalised.
She said, “Several key issues including schedules of tariff concessions, schedules of service commitment, rules of origin, investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights have not been concluded.
“There is still a lack of clarity on the type of value addition that must occur within an AfCFTA state party for a product to benefit from tariff reduction. A great deal of sensitisation and enlightenment still need to be done on the implementation modalities.”