A $500 million facility has just be granted by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to promote intra-African trade in the continent under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The was disclosed at a luncheon organised by MAN, where Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the bank announced his decision to support Nigerian manufacturers.
What the fund will be used for: The $500 million facility is expected to support the manufacturers and improve their product offerings. It will also enable them to compete against other products that will benefit from the free continental trade agreement and global brands. This is according to Oramah who was the guest lecturer at the forum. The implementation will begin in 2020.
Further Details: The agreement will seek to promote these key indicators:
- regional integration through increasing intra-African trade;
- elimination of import tariffs on 90% of goods
- economic growth and development; and
- poverty reduction in partnering countries.
Oramah in his presentation titled, “From Commodities to a Global Manufacturing Hub: The Road Ahead for Nigeria,” said Nigeria would derive benefits from the agreement based on how prepared the country is. He also advocated for infrastructural development, better micro-economic policies and access to market and finance as factors that will help Nigeria enjoy the trade agreement.
The President of MAN, Engr. Mansur Ahmed restated the need for Nigeria to benefit from the free trade which he linked to the overall growth of the economy and the way out of poverty. This is similar in his recent call to the government to engage in more capacity building enterprises for SON to be able to cope with challenges at the ports in the light of the recently signed free trade agreement.
“It is our view that for Africa – and certainly Nigeria to achieve beneficial free trade, we must significantly improve the value-chain in our manufacturing sector. This is the most assured route to achieving competitiveness, enhancing job creation and lifting the vast majority of our people out of poverty,” he stressed.
Speaking on behalf of the manufacturers, Mansur urged the President to act fast in the development of a comprehensive industrialization strategy that will aid development.
“We are of the view that Nigeria must put in place a comprehensive and robust strategy that seeks to address all critical constraints to economic growth and sustainable development, including the huge deficits in infrastructure especially energy and transport services,” he said.
[READ FURTHER: SMEs are suffering due to Nigeria’s epileptic power supply – MAN]