Mahamadu Buhari – Nigeria president

Yesterday, the Nigerian government tweeted that the country will sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The decision is seen as key to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), considering Nigeria’s importance as the largest economy in Africa.

Aurelien Mali, a vice president and sovereign analyst at Moody’s says: “As the largest African economy, Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area will play a key part in the trade bloc reaching its maximum potential. However, important structural challenges remain. Power generation and logistics infrastructure are weak in most countries in the trade area, both of which play a crucial role in supporting trade and manufacturing in Africa.”

“Nigeria is signing the AfCFTA Agreement after extensive domestic consultations, and is focused on taking advantage of ongoing negotiations to secure the necessary safeguards  against smuggling, dumping and other risks/threats,” the government tweeted.

In response to the Nigerian government tweet, African Union Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga tweeted “Officially confirmed! #Nigeria to sign the #AfCFTA Agreement during Niger Extra-Ordinary Summit in few days. Good and important development. Two more to go and an All Africa Market will start shaping up.”

If Nigeria signs, that brings the number of countries that have signed the Agreement to 53. Leaving two countries, Benin and Eritrea. 24 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification with the African Union. The Agreement came into force on May 30, 2019.

On Sunday July 7, 2019, the AfCFTA will be formally launched in Niamey, Nigeria.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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