President Muhammadu Buhari says the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 2021 will fulfill the dreams of post-Colonial African founders for a prosperous and united Africa through the continental integration of goods, services and people.
Buhari disclosed this at the 13th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government held virtually on Saturday. The President was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
President Buhari, during Saturday’s virtual meeting, announced that Nigeria will throw its full support to the commencement of the trade agreement from the 1st of January, 2021.
“In view of Nigeria’s strategic role in our collective efforts to build the Africa we want, the Nigerian government has taken bold steps to ratify the AfCFTA.
“It is, however, pertinent to remind us of the need to preserve the agreed rule we are putting in place, to ensure that there is no breakdown or abuse of the rules based continental free trade framework.
“We must, therefore, work assiduously to encourage probity, transparency, and promote a shared and inclusive prosperity for all Africans,” President Buhari said.
Buhari added that Nigeria’s role is to support continental integration and also be on the lookout for actions that could derail the agreement, citing acts that could undermine Nigeria’s borders through illegal dumping.
He also added that the ratification and implementation of the deal is a dream of Africa’s founding fathers in order to achieve peace and unity in the continent.
“To deepen Continental Integration through the free movement of goods, natural and legal persons across the continent we must remain strident and committed in our support for the instrument while timeously addressing actions that could lead to breakdown of rules-based African Continental Free Trade Area.
“The successful commencement of trade in January 2021 is indeed the fulfillment of the collective dreams of our founding fathers, for a better, united, peaceful and prosperous Africa.
“Let us, therefore, keep in mind that any form of abuse of the rules that undermine our borders and affect our markets could be a recipe for strained trade relations, disorder regional and geopolitical tensions and reduces economic growth,” Buhari said.
He urged that the mechanism put in place to support the deal will provide an environment for fair trade.
“In this regard, we are further assured that the mechanism will provide the essential balance previously lacking in our trade relations
“Importantly, this agreement is strategic and relevant to the establishment of an economic and legal framework for intra-Africa trade relations and further serves as a platform for deepening Africa’s integration into the global economy,” he said.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last month that The Federal Government announced that it had ratified Nigeria’s membership to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ahead of the December 5, 2020 deadline. The agreement goes into effect from the 1st of January 2021.
- The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment announced that the FEC’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a sign of Nigeria’s economic leadership position on the African continent.