A Nigerian , Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe has been elected as the Chairman of the Negotiating Forum for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) for Africa.
Osakwe was elected Chairman of the 54-member Negotiating Forum in Niamey, Niger, during the 6th cycle of the negotiations for the CFTA. Other members of the Bureau are: First Vice Chairman (Swaziland); Second Vice Chairman (Ethiopia); Third Vice Chairman (Chad); and Rapporteur (Algeria)
This puts Nigeria at the forefront of the negotiations, where it is expected to show leadership and work with the Bureau to drive the CFTA to conclusion
Reacting to his election, Osakwe said: “we have a duty to deliver on an integrated market for goods and services in Africa and, as a consequence, generate a radical boost for intra-African trade”
“the responsibility we have is a major challenge and at the same time a unique opportunity to contribute to growth, job creation and poverty reduction in Africa. Concluding the CFTA is also of necessity, for improving intra-African trade as part of a broader response to a global economy in rapid and uncertain change. Nigeria is grateful for this honor to serve and lead.” He added
The African Union (AU) has set a deadline of December 2017 for the adoption of the CFTA, Nevertheless, it is believed that adoption would depend on how much progress is made by the end of the year.
When concluded, the CFTA will enhance the movement of goods and services, boost trade facilitation and support the Ease of Doing Business within the 54-member block of the continent.