Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says the free trade among African countries must be fair.
President Buharo said this after signing the the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement on Sunday in Niamey, Niger Republic.
A State House statement by the Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the President as saying “Nigeria wishes to emphasise that free trade must also be fair trade.
‘‘As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hard-working population.
‘‘I wish to assure you that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.”
Buhari spoke in details on Nigeria’s position on the trade agreement, especially on how best to make it successful.
He stated, ‘‘I have just had the honour of signing the agreement establishing the AfCFTA on behalf of my country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘‘This is coming over a year since the AfCFTA Agreement was opened for signature in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union, on 21st March 2018.
‘‘In fact, you will recall that the treaty establishing the African Economic Community was signed in Abuja in 1991.
‘‘We fully understand the potential of the AfCFTA to transform trade in Africa and contribute towards solving some of the continent’s challenges, whether security, economic or corruption.
‘‘But it is also clear to us that for AfCFTA to succeed, we need the full support and buy-in of our private sector and civil society stakeholders and the public in general.
‘‘It is against this background that we embarked on an extensive nationwide consultation and sensitisation programme of our domestic stakeholders on the AfCFTA.
‘‘Our consultations and assessments reaffirmed that the AfCFTA can be a platform for African manufacturers of goods and providers of service to construct regional value chains for made in Africa goods and services.
‘‘It was also obvious that we have a lot of work to do to prepare our nation to achieve our vision for intra-African trade which is the free movement of ‘made in Africa goods’ .”
‘‘Some of the critical challenges that we identified will require our collective action as a Union and we will be presenting them for consideration at the appropriate AfCFTA fora.
‘‘Examples are tackling injurious trade practices by third parties and attracting the investment we need to grow local manufacturing and service capacities.’’
The Presidential statement also revealed that “the AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019, thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on 29th April 2019 in conformity with legal provision.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo, has disclosed that 22 non-oil sector products have been identified by the Federal Government for export, worth about $30,000bn in earning yearly.
Awolowo, who spoke with State House Correspondents in Abuja, also said Nigeria could create as much as 500,000 new export-related jobs by belonging to the AfCFTA.
He named cocoa, cotton, cement, leather, cashew, Sesame, Shea butter, palm oil, fertilizer, petrochemicals, and rubber among other products to be exported in favour of Nigeria.