Nigeria finally commits to signing the Africa free trade agreement

Nigeria, the country with the largest economy in Africa, was one of the last holdouts to signing the Africa free trade agreement but it has committed to signing the document at the upcoming African Union Summit.

Africa free trade agreement

The purpose of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) is to eliminate tariffs and import/export duties on goods traded between states that have signed it. Very similar to the Eurozone created by the European Union.

Once formed, the agreement would create a market of 1.2 billion consumers in the region of $2.2 trillion, which would make it one of the biggest in the world.

The agreement officially came into effect when Gambia became the 22nd signatory in April 2019

There are currently 49 countries that have signed on to the agreement, including South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

The list of countries that have not signed it is much smaller and includes just Benin, Botswana, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, and Zambia, now that Nigeria has crossed the picket line.

“Nigeria will sign the #AfCFTA Agreement at the upcoming Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niamey, Niger,” the Nigerian presidency posted on Twitter.

The holdout

They wanted to avoid signing the agreement because of fears that neighbouring countries would flood the Nigerian home market with cheap, low-quality goods.

This was especially concerning for them given their recent push towards empowering local manufacturing.

“Let me state unequivocally that trade is important for us as a nation and to all nations. Economic progress is what makes the world go around. Our position is very simple, we support free trade as long as it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis,” the office of the Nigerian presidency quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying on Twitter.

“After extensive domestic consultations, and is focused on taking advantage of ongoing negotiations to secure the necessary safeguards against smuggling, dumping and other risks or threats.”

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