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Economy & Politics

Coronavirus second wave won’t stop African Free Trade Agreement

ACFTA was set to have started this year but has been delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

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African Free Trade , Coronavirus second wave won't stop African Free Trade Agreement

The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) will not face any further delay even if there is a rebound of COVID-19 cases in Africa according to Wamkele Mene, the deal’s Secretary-General.

Mene told Bloomberg’s Invest Global Virtual Conference: “If the pandemic continues into 2021, we will develop the necessary public health protocols to continue and to push on with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.”

The agreement signed in 2019 ( including Nigeria) was set to have started this year but has been delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Further negotiations on tariff concessions and tradeable goods have been put on hold.

READ ALSO: Buhari sets up committee on AfCFTA implementation

About 54 nations have signed up to be part of the agreement but only 28 have fully beatified it.

Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria is also yet to ratify due to concerns on trans-shipment of goods entering the zone from nations not part of the agreement, Nigeria had initially hesitated to sign the deal on fears that the deal will make Nigeria a “dumping ground”.

READ MORE: Gold nears 8-year high, more economic stimulus coming

Mene praised Africa’s efforts and rapid response In tackling the disease and introducing nearly lockdown which is a result of Africa’s experience tackling other pandemics like Ebola.

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Africa is behind Asia and Europe in terms of Continental Internal Trade which is just 15% in the continent compared to 58% in Asia and 70% in Europe. The agreement will implement the free movement of people and services, reduce cross border tariffs for goods by 90% and bring the much-needed investment into Africa’s economy.

The ACFTA will be the biggest trade zone by land area when fully operational by 2030 with a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion and potential market size of 1.2 billion people.

Mene said African Governments want the deal to move on as soon as possible once the conditions are right for it, urging that trade will help kick-start economic activity in areas heavily affected by the disease, highlighting the necessities of continental and regional value chains for manufacturing capacity.

 

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria needs urgent economic diversification – AfDB

The AfDB said that the diversification of the Nigerian economy had become important for it to respond favourably to the emerging challenges of the 21st century.

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AfDB, Lutoyilex Construct Ltd, fraud

The African Development Bank has stated that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, needs urgent economic diversification to move the country from a single income source (oil and minerals) towards multiple income sources.

This was disclosed by Prof. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka Oyebanji, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation at African Development Bank (AfDB), at the 22nd Founder’s Day Lecture of the Igbinedion University, the first private university in Edo state, on Monday.

What the AfDB said about diversification

“In pursuit of long-term recovery and sustainable development, Nigeria needs urgent economic diversification. Nothing is more poignantly demonstrative of the danger of over-reliance on a single or narrow range of commodities than the recent crash in oil price we saw in 2020 due to the COVID-19.

Economic diversification entails a shift away from a single income source (oil and minerals) toward multiple income sources from an increasing spectrum of sectors, products and markets,” he said.

In case you missed it

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated earlier this year that economic diversification was important to Nigeria and critical for her economic recovery.

They said the limited gains from inward-oriented policies in terms of creating jobs and improving living standards suggested that Nigeria needed to have a change of strategy. It was pointed out that in order to accommodate a growing number of young people entering the labour market, Nigeria would need to create at least 5 million new jobs each year over the next decade.

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Business News

Ghana-Nigerian traders dispute: FG to send delegation to Ghana

The delegation will be led by the Minister of Trade, Niyi Adebayo, and comprised of other private stakeholders.

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AfCFTA: Trade Minister advises Nigerian businesses to take opportunity of agreement

The Nigerian Government will send a delegation led by the Minister of Trade, Niyi Adebayo, to Ghana to end the crisis between Nigerian traders in Ghana and local authorities—an issue that started last year before the Ghanaian Presidential elections.

The delegation was ordered by the Presidency as disclosed in a statement by the trade ministry on Monday evening.

The statement revealed that the delegation would be comprised of private stakeholders also who would be sent to dialogue with Ghanaian trade authorities to find a solution to the crisis.

The meeting between both parties will be held between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

What you should know

Recall Nairametrics reported last year that Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said that Nigeria’s border closure in 2019 hurt Ghanaians and nearly bankrupted many Ghanaian export businesses after their goods were stuck at the Seme Border for months, reacting to the shutdown of Nigerian-owned shops by Ghanaian authorities last year.

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