Nigeria begins consultations on continental free trade area

Nigeria has commenced internal consultations with different stakeholders on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement signed last week in Kigali.

The consultations which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday were attended by several members of the Nigerian cabinet, parliament, customs service, exporters among others, according to information from the Nigerian president’s office.

This comes after Nigeria missed out on signing the AfCFTA in Kigali last week, when 44 African countries endorsed the trade deal.

While co-chairing the inaugural meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah said that, “This is not one of those meetings where things have been pre-determined. The reason we’re here today is to consult widely, to understand one another better and to speak a common language.”

Genesis

On March 19, a day before most African Heads of State and government were flying to Kigali for the 10th extra ordinary summit where AfCFTA was signed, President Buhari announced that he had cancelled his trip to Rwanda.

According to a statement from the president’s office, this was to allow more time for input from Nigerian stakeholders.

On March 21, Buhari announced he had set up a Presidential Committee to widen consultations on the CFTA and give a report within 2 weeks.

 In a statement, he said they were widening and deepening domestic consultations on the CFTA, to ensure that all concerns are respectfully addressed.

In Kigali, 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, 43 signed the Kigali declaration and 27 countries agreed to ease mobility of people across the continent by signing the protocol on movement of people across Africa.

At least 11 countries including Nigeria, and South Africa, plus Burundi, Lesotho, Namibia, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau abstained from the free trade area agreement.

However, in an interview last week, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry sounded optimistic, saying the countries that did not sign, most of them will sign by July, when the next continental meeting convenes.

Nigeria has commenced internal consultations with different stakeholders on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement signed last week in Kigali.

The consultations which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday were attended by several members of the Nigerian cabinet, parliament, customs service, exporters among others, according to information from the Nigerian president’s office.

This comes after Nigeria missed out on signing the AfCFTA in Kigali last week, when 44 African countries endorsed the trade deal.

While co-chairing the inaugural meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah said that, “This is not one of those meetings where things have been pre-determined. The reason we’re here today is to consult widely, to understand one another better and to speak a common language.”

ol on movement of people across Africa.

At least 11 countries including Nigeria, and South Africa, plus Burundi, Lesotho, Namibia, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau abstained from the free trade area agreement.

However, in an interview last week, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry sounded optimistic, saying the countries that did not sign, most of them will sign by July, when the next continental meeting convenes.

 

 

 

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