Former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo has said that the signing and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be a clear sign from the continent on the reality of the shift from aid to trade.
He was speaking at a breakfast session organised on the sidelines of the ongoing African Union summit which was held under the theme: leveraging the power of business to drive Africa’s integration.
He said that the implementation of the agreement will enable a shift from dependence on assistance to increased trade as well as a sign to the rest of the world that Africa is looking for sustainable business.
“That is where our salvation lies, trading amongst ourselves and consequently developing our economies. The agreement will inspire a change a perception of the continent by the rest of the world,” he said.
Others have termed the implementation of the agreement will be a starting point to further integration and development of aspects such as infrastructure, energy and communication.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi said that the agreement will foster closer implementation of infrastructure linking markets as there will be guaranteed markets.
Unlike previous trade agreements, he said that the AfCFTA is conscious of the needs of the small and medium enterprises who are often ignored by most agreements.
The agreement is set to be signed Wednesday at the extraordinary African Union summit that will be attended by dozens of Heads of State.