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Nigeria’s decision to sign the AfCFTA might be a grievous mistake after all

@NGRPresident announced on Tuesday that it will finally become a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (#AfCFTA) after one year of delay, but the decision could backfire beyond measure.



Q1 2020, AfCFTA, African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa Free Trade Agreement, Business new, Nairametrics news, AfCFTA: Promoting Non -Oil revenue will maximize agreement for Nigeria - NESG

The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that it will finally become a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) after one year of delay.

This development comes after the President Buhari-led Government initially expressed an unwillingness to sign the agreement, given some factors which major stakeholders like Aliko Dangote, Abdul Samad, and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria worried could backfire against the country.

The President is now set to sign the deal on July 7, 2019, when African leaders meet in Niemey, Niger, for an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union.

[READ ALSO: Dangote raises concerns over FG’s signing of AfCFTA]

Why the change of mind? President Muhammadu Buhari set up a panel in March to appraise the situation. The panel, which was led by Desmond Guobadia, reportedly gave a go-ahead for Nigeria to sign it, stating that, “Our reports show that, on balance, Nigeria should consider joining the AfCFTA”.

The Government also disclosed that after extensive domestic consultations, the decision was made to join the 52 out of 55 African countries backing the policy.

Nigeria to sign AfCFTA, Countries that have signed AfCFTA

Nigeria’s President Munhammadu Buhari

Why Nigeria’s participation is vital: Nigeria is the largest market in Africa and the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of about 200 million citizens. Nigeria’s economy is a major contributor to Africa’s gross domestic product and economic growth with Lagos being one of the top ten largest economies in Africa.

Therefore, Nigeria presents viable market opportunities, a sizable customer base, and high purchasing power compared to other African countries that can boost exportation revenue for members of the AfCFTA.

[READ ALSO: BUA Group’s Chairman reveals the risk of Nigeria signing AfCFTA]

The benefit of the AfCFTA: The single market agenda was initiated to reduce barriers to trade through the removal of import duties and non-tariff barriers. This is expected to “stimulate intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, creating a 52 percent increase in trade by 2022; and a vital $10 billion decrease in imports from outside Africa.” African Development Bank (AfDB).

Is Nigeria making a grievous mistake? Although the AfCFTA was created to promote a single market and free movement of goods among African countries, the deal might not augur well for Nigeria after all. Nigeria has porous borders, a situation that makes it easy for goods to be moved into the country without adequate checks. The AfCFTA could, therefore, make it easier for more goods to be dumped into the country going forward.

Nigeria to sign AfCFTA, Countries that have signed AfCFTA, Nigeria's borders, Nigeria's port, Lilypond Terminal

Offloading and loading of containers at the port

  • Agreed, the AfCFTA was created to drive Made-in-Africa goods. However, there have been fears that some countries might collude with Western and Asian countries to smuggle in foreign goods and disguise as African made, thereby eroding the objective of AfCFTA. This is one of the factors that delayed Nigeria’s commitment to the single market agenda, and the panel warned of it, “The risk is that it will provide incentive for traders to disguise goods imported from outside the continent as made-in-Africa goods” the report says.
  • This move could also affect the Buy-Naija-To-Grow-Naira campaign in Nigeria. The country does not currently produce enough products and Nigerians are not totally sold on Made-in-Nigeria goods just yet. This is why opening the border for goods made in other parts of the continent could be a setback for local manufacturers.

[READ ALSO: Again, MAN warns FG against signing of AfCFTA]

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  • Also, African countries are known for not always keeping to trade agreement like AfCFTA. In an interview in April, the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, had stated that the AfCFTA could end up like previous treaties that were largely futile trade-relationship. Rabiu stated that treaties like Ecowas Trade Labourisation Scheme (ETLS), has not benefited some businesses in Nigeria.
  • This is because other countries such as Benin Republic and Burkina Faso who are members of ETLS, do not allow the importation of some goods from Nigeria into their countries. According to Rabiu, if these member nations can restrict trade relations between Nigeria and their country, then a bigger treaty like the AfCFTA would hold no weight. Although Rabiu believes AfCFTA has its opportunities.

Dangote and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have all raised concern regarding the AfCFTA, because while Nigeria is a viable business option for growth for the African continent, Nigeria and other African countries could be an hostile business environment for Nigerian goods to thrive.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Corporate Press Releases

Transcorp Hotels launches Aura, an online marketplace for accommodation and experiences

Nigeria’s largest hospitality brand launches a new platform for booking vacation homes, holiday lets, and experiences.



Dupe Olusola

Africa’s leading hospitality brand Transcorp Hotels Plc. has announced the launch of Aura, a new digital platform through which people can book accommodation, restaurants, and experiences.

The new brand, Transcorp’s first in the alternative accommodation segment, is part of the company’s asset-light model, leveraging technology to deliver true hospitality, exciting experiences, and drive shareholder value.

“It’s a new dawn in the hospitality industry! I am thrilled to introduce you to Aura by Transcorp, the digital platform we are using to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc., Dupe Olusola said.

“For more than 30 years, Transcorp Hotels Plc has been at the forefront of creating a superior guest experience at our locations. Today, our commitment to innovation has offered us an opportunity to extend this beyond the hotel premises,” Olusola added.

The launch of Aura by Transcorp is one of the most significant developments in the company’s history as it seeks to transform the travel and tourism industry in Africa by focusing on three important components of travel, whether for leisure or business — where you stay, what you eat and how you spend your time. With its people-driven hospitality model, Aura is set to revolutionise travel and help remind Africans of our deep history of hospitality.

Speaking on the launch of Aura, Obong Idiong, Chief Executive Officer at Africa Prudential Plc, Aura’s technology partners, expressed his excitement. “Finding the right accommodation when you travel can be incredibly complex. Options available for the right prices are often limited, and travellers sometimes end up with accommodation that taints the travel experience. Transcorp Hotels Plc has been able to fix that with Aura and we are proud to be associated with them.”

“To ensure topnotch user experience, we built a solution to drive digital transformation through the adoption of shared living spaces for the Aura business. With an advanced search algorithm powered by artificial intelligence, Aura determines the relevance of locations taking into consideration, the customers’ preferences and requirements to meet them at the point of their needs,” Idiong added.

Priscilla Adeboye, a travel enthusiast and early adopter of Aura, said the global pandemic has pushed international travel down her list. “But I still want to be able to take some time off work or spend a weekend away from home with the family. I have found incredible homes on Aura that meet my need for space and privacy.”

Working with thousands of partners across Nigeria and different cities in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc. is building the continent’s largest platform for people-driven hospitality. While travellers enjoy the right selections at the best prices on Aura, hosts can also earn a lot of money by receiving guests in their unoccupied homes and sharing the local culture with them.

For travellers who would rather stay in hotels, Aura also has a great selection of some of the best hotels in every city.

With the launch of Aura, Transcorp Hotels Plc. has further cemented its leadership in the hospitality industry and reinforced its commitment to innovation and superior guest experience across different demographics.

Guests and hosts can sign up at to start booking or hosting. The service is currently available in Nigeria only, but the company said plans are already in place to expand to major cities in Africa.


Transcorp Hotels Plc is one of Africa’s leading hospitality companies, committed to redefining service standards across the continent while remaining truly and authentically African.


Aura by Transcorp

Aura is Africa’s best platform for connecting travellers with great accommodation, good food, and memorable experiences. The platform is also an avenue for people with unoccupied homes, hotels, restaurants, or different skill sets that may interest others can earn an income by becoming hosts.

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Corporate Press Releases

DISCLAIMER: Ex-Cavendish MD distances self from alleged statement on OML 110

Alhaji Ibrahim Mai Deribe, a former MD of Cavendish Petroleum Limited, has dissociated himself from an alleged statement on OML 110.




My attention has been drawn to a statement with respect to OML110 and published online. This libelous statement purportedly originated from Cavendish Petroleum Limited and was allegedly authored by me whilst also falsely claiming that I, Alhaji Ibrahim Mai Deribe signed in the capacity of Managing Director.

I, Alhaji Ibrahim Mai Deribe, wish to state the following:

  • i. I have not authored any such statement in any capacity – personal or otherwise. I have also not caused another to write on my behalf neither have I had any just or probable cause to author such false, misleading and malicious statements with respect to the revoked OML110.
  • ii. I had also ceased to be the Managing Director of Cavendish Petroleum for a long time so to attribute a statement from me in that capacity or otherwise should be seen for what it is – a disdainful, calculated attempt by unscrupulous agents to mislead, malign and impugn on my integrity and that of others so mentioned for whatever sinister reasons.
  • iii. I completely dissociate myself from the false statement attributed to me and subsequent malicious report published on some faceless online sites without any proof to back it up whatsoever. The statement is highly libelous in its entirety.
  • iv. As far as I am aware, these malicious statements and report are not reflective of my opinion, thoughts or the true state of things based on the facts available.
  • v. Further, to the best of my knowledge, neither Cavendish Petroleum or anyone associated with the company has authorized or caused the publication of the said false statements.

I therefore wish to inform the public and other stakeholders that the purported statement is malicious against the persons mentioned, false, misleading and did not originate from me in any capacity. I fully dissociate myself from the purported, false and malicious report and urge the unsuspecting public and all stakeholders to disregard the statement in its entirety as I will not hesitate to pursue all legal means to prevent and protect my name and reputation from any further misuse and/or misrepresentation – in any capacity.




Alhaji Ibrahim Mai Deribe

Former Managing Director, Cavendish Petroleum

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