AfCFTA, a catalyst for Nigeria’s export diversification: Minister

Jennifer Inah, Abuja

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The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo says the AfCFTA can act as a catalyst for Nigeria’s export diversification, by providing preferential access to Nigeria products and services to the huge African market which currently sources over 85% of imports from outside the continent.

Mr Adebayo said this during the opening ceremony of a three-day Subnational Strategy Workshop organized by the National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital.

The Minister who was represented by the Director General, Office for Trade Negotiations, Amb Yonove Agah, stated that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has presented Africa an opportunity to access a single market with a population of 12 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 Trillion.

“AFCFTA will eliminate tariffs on 90% of tradable goods over 5 years for developing countries and 10 years for least developed countries and customs unions like ECOWAS and this will expand market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services which would, in turn, catalyze production growth and boost job creation in the Nigerian economy,” Mr Adebayo said.

“It also provides immense opportunities for Nigerian companies to expand to Africa especially in areas of oil and gas, financial services, fintech, tourism services, e-commerce, and manufacturing where we have already developed significant domestic capabilities.”

He noted that National Action Committee on AfCFTA has completed the development of a National AfCFTA Implementation Plan which is currently undergoing adoption in the participating MDAs.

Mr Adebayo added that successful implementation of the AFCFTA will require active involvement of the State Governments.

“At the minimum, the National AfCFTA implementation plan needs to cascade down to the subnational and grassroots level, for optimal results, each State needs to develop and execute its own AfCFTA strategy,” he said.

According to him, “It is for this reason that the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC-AfCFTA) in conjunction with Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is hosting this event.

He said the objectives of the event are to Support States in the development of a framework to identify their areas of distinctive competencies and also Kickstart the development of States’ AfCFTA strategy.

The Minister added that it is expected that through the plans and discussions that will hold during the workshop, state IGRs will make quantum leaps, businesses will expand domestically and continentally, unemployment will reduce, and the overall economy will become healthier.

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