The Federal Government has declared January 2021 as a month to campaign for the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) in Nigeria.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, made the statement before January 1, 2021 on the take-off of the AfCFTA and called on Nigerians, in particular industrialists, to seize the inherent opportunities to promote Made products. -in-Nigeria.
In a statement by his special media assistant, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister said that Nigeria cannot afford to be left out of the emerging African economic bloc, emphasizing that AfCTA will form a $ 3.4 trillion economic bloc, which in Nigeria must play a leadership role. .
The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area in terms of 54 participating countries, will begin on January 1, 2021.
The start date will mark the beginning of the implementation of a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business and investment persons in Africa.
According to the minister, “The journey began on July 7, 2019 when Nigeria became the 53rd African country to sign the AfCFTA. Long before, the dream of the founding fathers of Nigeria and Africa had always been to unite the continent in shared prosperity.
“We have worked tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria not only participates as a name signatory, but also becomes a major commercial and economic power, even more so than we have been within the ECOWAS subregion.”
Also speaking about the preparedness measures taken by the government for the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, the Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, said: “We are coordinating effectively with all critical stakeholders to ensure a field of Seamless gameplay for Nigerian merchants and businessmen to explore the vast markets opening on January 1, 2021.
“We are ready to begin a major communication campaign and we have labeled January 2021 as AfCFTA Awareness and Awareness month, which will take place in all six geopolitical zones and will involve various stakeholder groups in the public, private and business sectors. civil society, as well as other critical traditional institutions. “
Meanwhile, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says the AfCFTA must work as it is the continent’s only path to sustainable development, a senior official
David Luke, coordinator of CEPA’s African Trade Policy Center (ATPC), is quoted as saying, “Let’s not underestimate the importance of this AfCFTA initiative. There is no plan B; we have to make the AfCFTA work. “
Luke said that “all societies only developed when their productive capacities, productivity and competitiveness expanded, driven by trade, and Africa could not be an exception.”
According to Luke, the income from trade was multiples of the income from sources such as investment, remittances, foreign direct investment, and foreign aid.
The AfCFTA aims to create the world’s largest free trade zone with the potential to bring together more than 1.2 billion people with a GDP of more than US $ 2.5 trillion and usher in a new era of development , according to figures from UNECA.
The continental free trade pact is said to offer greater potential for generating a range of benefits through economies of scale, trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment, and poverty reduction.
Established on May 30, 2018, the agreement has been signed by 54 AU member countries and ratified by 34 AU member countries, including Nigeria in December 2019 and November 2020, respectively.
The AfCFTA is expected to help expand Nigeria’s international trade portfolio, boost competitiveness, and increase GDP.