Nigeria to sign up to Africa Free Trade Pact

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has revealed his country will soon sign up to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. So far, 49 countries in Africa have put pen to paper on the agreement.
The plaque that was unveiled signifying the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area at the AU summit in Kigali in March . (File)

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has revealed his country will soon sign up to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA). So far, 49 countries in Africa have put pen to paper on the agreement.

 Buhari made the announcement during a press conference alongside South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is in Abuja, Nigeria for a State visit.

During his visit, Ramaphosa said that South Africa saw huge benefits from the continental free trade deal and that a draft agreement relating to the movement of people was being reviewed.

Ramaphosa who was in Nigeria for the first time since he became President said he was seeking greater collaboration between the two countries.

Kenyatta of Kenya signs the AfCFTA agreement

Nigeria and South Africa have two of the largest economies in Africa.

Updating the Senators on where Rwanda stands since it ratified the agreement in April, the Minister of Trade and Industry; Vincent Munyeshyaka said that though only 22 countries are required to sign before the agreement comes into force, the target is to have 30.

Rwanda is the current chair of the African Union.

“The threshold is normally 22 countries but we are targeting 30 by December. We know it’s ambitious but are hoping that by end of the July African Heads of State summit, we will have seen some improvements,” he said.

So far, just four countries – Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Niger, submitted their instruments of ratification to Treaty to the African Union Secretariat in Addis, Ethiopia.

If the 22-country threshold is met, it means the agreement, which intends to make Africa the largest trading bloc in the world, can get into force.

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