The Nigerian Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo says the Africa Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA has presented Africa an opportunity to access a single market with a population of 12 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion.
Mr Adebayo said this during the opening ceremony of a three-day Sub-national Strategy Workshop organised by National Action Committee on AfCFTA in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.
The Minister who was represented by the Director General Office for Trade Negotiations, Amb Yonove Agah stated that the AfCFTA can act as a catalyst for Nigeria’s export diversification, by providing preferential access to Nigerian products and services to the huge African market which currently sources over 85% of imports from outside the continent.
“AFCFTA will eliminate tariffs on 90% of tradable goods over five years for developing countries and 10 years for least developed countries and customs unions like ECOWAS and this will expand market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services which would, in turn, catalyse production growth and boost job creation in the Nigerian economy.”
“It also provides immense opportunities for Nigerian companies to expand to Africa especially in areas of oil and gas, financial services, fintech, tourism services, e-commerce, and manufacturing where we have already developed significant domestic capabilities,” he said.
He noted that National Action Committee on AfCFTA has completed the development of a National AfCFTA Implementation Plan which is currently undergoing adoption in the participating MDAs.
State Governments’ participation
Mr Adebayo added that successful implementation of the AFCFTA will require active involvement of the State Governments.
“At the minimum, the National AfCFTA implementation plan needs to cascade down to the sub-national and grassroots level. For optimal results, each State needs to develop and execute its own AfCFTA strategy,” he said.
According to him, “it is for this reason that the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC-AfCFTA) in conjunction with Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is hosting this event. The objectives of this event are to: Support States in the development of a framework to identify their areas of distinctive competencies, Kick-start the development of States’ AfCFTA strategy.
“Others include: Assess requirements for successful implementation of the AfCFTA, discuss good practices and management of expected challenges facing the implementation of AfCFTA in Nigeria, discuss the integration of gender equality and youth representation into Nigeria’s AfCFTA and Agree on protocol for managing interactions among States and between National and sub-national programs”.
The Minister added that it similarly expected that through the plans and discussions that will hold during the Workshop, State IGRs will make quantum leaps, Businesses will expand domestically and continentally, unemployment will reduce, and overall economy will become healthier.